BUSCH: Las Vegas Preseason Thunder, day 18 report

NASCAR PRESEASON THUNDER AT LAS VEGAS -- DAY 18 * Carl Edwards promotes March 5 race in Mexico City *NASCAR Busch Series testing wraps up at Las Vegas *Paul Tracy preparing for first NASCAR Busch Series race DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb....


* Carl Edwards promotes March 5 race in Mexico City

*NASCAR Busch Series testing wraps up at Las Vegas

*Paul Tracy preparing for first NASCAR Busch Series race

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2006) -- A media and fan favorite in the United States, Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest/Henkel Ford) may have gained some fans in Mexico City today after opening his media press conference in Spanish and admitted his, "Spanish isn't very good but he hopes his car is fast."

After spending the past two days testing his NASCAR Busch Series car in Las Vegas, Edwards - who will compete in both the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series - traveled to Mexico City to visit media in advance of the March 5 race.

"Last year's race was one of the most exciting things I've done in racing," said Edwards during his press conference at The Hotel Presidente in front of nearly 70 media members. "Racing in front of such a big crowd was very exciting and NASCAR is behind this effort 100% to help build a fan base in Mexico and among Hispanics in the U.S.

"We hope to gain more Mexican fans and develop sponsorships in Mexico too."

Edwards, who finished third in last year's race behind 2005 NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex and Kevin Harvick, respectively, has only positive things to say about the track.

"I love Autòdromo Hermanos Rodriguez a lot and it's a lot of fun," he said. "The fans and people are great."

When asked about Mexican drivers expected to compete in this year's race, Edwards again was complimentary.

"All are great drivers," Edwards said. "I wouldn't be surprised if they do well in the race and are difficult to beat. Adrian Fernandez was very fast and now he has more experience in a NASCAR Busch Series car.

"Jorge Goeters also ran well and I absolutely think they can win, which is why I'm so worried about them."

After the press conference, Edwards headed to the track to do one-on-one interviews with key media and give rides around the track. But before he started his interviews, Edwards had the opportunity to select Mexico's biggest NASCAR fan for a contest held by The Record, the country's largest sports newspaper.

Edwards will join his fellow NASCAR Busch Series drivers in Daytona Beach next week to kick off the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series season -- and the 25th anniversary of series sponsor Anheuser-Busch - in the Hershey's Kissables 300.

Testing wraps up at Las Vegas ... After spending the last two days testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, most NASCAR Busch Series teams headed home this morning. Four drivers - Steve Wallace (No. 64 Jackson Roscoe Foundation Dodge), Michael Waltrip (No. 99 Aaron's Chevrolet), Steve Park and David Gilliland - finished their testing session today.

Kyle Busch preparing for busy year ... Preparing to run in both the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet) has spent the last few weeks testing at Daytona International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "I've spent a lot of time on airplanes and in race cars recently," Busch said. "I'm really happy with where our programs are and with what we've learned at these tests. I'm ready to get going and get into the rhythm of racing every week."

Paul Tracy ready for NASCAR debut ... Preparing for his first foray into NASCAR, Paul Tracy (No. 34 Sports Clips Chevrolet) has spent the past two days testing in Las Vegas. "These guys do this all the time," Tracy said. "This is kind of a funny track compared to most of them because most of them have a much steeper bank than here so this is a pretty difficult one to set up for. It's probably one of the hardest ones to go to because you can't rely on the banking. Hopefully when we come back, we'll run better."

Etc. ... Braun Racing and Akins Motorsports announced the merger of their two teams, which will now be called Braun-Akins Racing. The team will field two cars this year with drivers Jason Leffler and AJ Foyt IV. Additional details regarding the team currently are being finalized. ... 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford) will spot for 1991 NASCAR Busch Series champion Bobby Labonte in the Daytona 500. ... To prepare for their first NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona, Danny O'Quinn (No. 50 World Financial Group Ford) and Burney Lamar (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet) will participate in the Automobile Racing Club of America race on Feb. 11.

Fast Facts

What: NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing for 2006.

Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Track Layout: 1.5-mile tri-oval.

When: Mon., Feb. 6 -- Wed., Feb. 8.

Times: 9 a.m. -- 5 p.m.; Lunch from Noon -- 1 p.m. (PT)

Who: John Andretti, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, Spencer Clark, Stacy Compton, Carl Edwards, David Gilliland, David Green, Mark Green, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Tracy Hines, Ron Hornaday Jr., Kasey Kahne, Joel Kauffman, Jason Keller, Matt Kenseth, Todd Kluever, Jason Leffler, Burney Lamar, Stephen Leicht, Kevin Lepage, Ashton Lewis Jr., Mark McFarland, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Joe Nemechek, Danny O'Quinn, Steve Park, Ken Schrader, Jay Sauter, Johnny Sauter, Tim Sauter, Regan Smith, Reed Sorenson, Paul Tracy, Kenny Wallace, Steve Wallace, Chris Wimmer, Jon Wood and J.J. Yeley.


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Drivers John Andretti , Jeff Burton , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Michael Waltrip , Steve Park , Jason Keller , Jason Leffler , Ken Schrader , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Greg Biffle , Kevin Lepage , Jay Sauter , Stacy Compton , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jon Wood , Jamie McMurray , Mark Green , David Green , Tim Sauter , Johnny Sauter , Kasey Kahne , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Martin Truex Jr. , Paul Menard , Carl Edwards , Regan Smith , Clint Bowyer , David Gilliland , Burney Lamar , Ashton Lewis , Chris Wimmer , Denny Hamlin , Todd Kluever , Jorge Goeters , Stephen Leicht , Joel Kauffman , Danny O'Quinn , Steve Wallace , Kyle Busch