* Series Regulars Come To New England On Hot Streak * ABC Has Telecast; Fifth Of Six Races This Season NBS ETC. Series Regulars Hot Heading To NHIS: The first combination event in four races means double-duty driver entries, however it's the...
* Series Regulars Come To New England On Hot Streak
* ABC Has Telecast; Fifth Of Six Races This Season
Series Regulars Hot Heading To NHIS: The first combination event in four races means double-duty driver entries, however it's the NASCAR Busch Series regulars who may continue to steal the spotlight. Four regulars, including newcomer Stephen Leicht (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford -- 10th) are ranked in the top 10 in the point standings. Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Toyota) has two top-five finishes in his last two races and has vaulted from 20th to sixth in the points over his last five events. Shane Huffman (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) has registered consecutive top-10 finishes and sits 12th in the points, his best since he was eighth following the April race at Nashville Superspeedway. And full-time double-duty drivers David Reutimann (No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota) and David Ragan (No. 6 Discount Tire Ford are second and third in the points, respectively, career-best standings for both.
RCR Heats Up Owner Championship Race: Scott Wimmer's (No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet) second-place finish at Milwaukee last Saturday advanced the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team 23 points in the NASCAR Busch Series owners' championship standings. Wimmer and Jeff Burton have the team in second place, 188 points behind the No. 60 Ford of Roush Racing. This is the second straight week the No. 29 RCR team has advanced in the owners' point standings.
Juan Pablo Returns: After a three-race absence from the NASCAR Busch Series, Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) is entered at New Hampshire and comes in after capturing his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win last Sunday at Infineon Raceway. Montoya is already a winner in the NASCAR Busch Series having won at Mexico City in March. Montoya will make his first start at NHIS but he's fared well on tracks from 0.5 to 1.5-miles thus far, posting five top-15 finishes in nine starts. Kevin Hamlin has been handling duties in the No. 42 during the recent three-race string of series stand-alone events.
Labonte An NHIS Veteran: Bobby Labonte (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet) makes his ninth start at New Hampshire this weekend. He was one of the first drivers on the speedway when it opened its gates in 1990 and hosted its first NASCAR touring event. He also raced in the first NASCAR Busch Series event there but an accident on Lap 134 relegated him to a 41st-place finish in the New England 250. He did finish second in the fall race later that season. He also captured the Busch Pole in 1994.
Seems Like Old Times For Keller: Jason Keller is getting his groove back -- quickly. After not having strapped in to a race car from last October at Memphis Motorsports Park until regaining rides with Brewco Motorsports and CJM Racing at Nashville last April, Keller is making like old times in the NASCAR Busch Series. The 37-year-old -- who is the only driver other than series leader Tommy Houston (417) to crack the 400 start barrier and is also the series' all-time money winner with over $11 million in earnings -- has two top-five finishes in his last two races and has finished outside the top 20 in only one of his six races this season. His fifth-place finish at Milwaukee last weekend was his best since a fourth-place finish at O'Reilly Raceway Park in 2005.
Of Note: JR Motorsports' shock specialist Katie Muir comes home to New England this weekend. Muir is a native of Rutland, Mass. ... After his 18th-place finish at his home track at The Milwaukee Mile last Saturday, Todd Kluever (No. 16 3M Ford) led the first annual "Todd Kluever Ride To Cure Diabetes" motorcycle event and raised $19,500 to benefit the American Diabetes Association and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Over 150 riders participated in the 75-mile event.
New Hampshire International Speedway Quick Facts
Only one owner has more than one victory at New Hampshire International Speedway. Jack Roush has wins with Matt Kenseth (2004) and Carl Edwards (2006).
Two drivers have won races from the Busch Pole at New Hampshire -- New England native Ricky Craven (1991) and Tim Fedewa (2000).
Waterloo, N.Y. native Mike McLaughlin had a tremendous history at NHIS. He won in 1997, captured the Busch Pole in 1995 and is tied for the all-time lead in top fives (four). He has the most top 10s of any driver (nine) and leads all drivers with 17 starts at the track in series competition.
Rookie Spotlight: Ragan Enjoying Rookie Lead; Career-Best Ranking In Series Points
Ragan's On A Roll: David Ragan finished 12th at The Milwaukee Mile last weekend for his ninth top-15 finish this season and extended his lead in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings. He leads second-place Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingford Ford) by 12 points and third-place Kyle Krisiloff (No. 14 Lilly/Walgreens Ford) by 31 points. Ragan has also jumped three spots in the series standings to third, the highest ranking in his short series career. He's got some experience at New Hampshire having started twice in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with a best finish of 11th last year.
Santos Comes Home: Bobby Santos (No. 91 Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports Toyota), the 21-year-old third-generation driver from Franklin, Mass., looks to start at his home track this weekend for Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports. Santos has made two NASCAR Busch Series starts this season for the team at Richmond International Raceway (where he started seventh) and at Nashville, finishing 30th and 37th, respectively. Last week, Santos posted a third-place finish in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. In 2006, he won his first USAC Midget race at Concord Motorsports Park and just six days later captured the prestigious 61st Annual Coca-Cola/Night Before the 500 Classic USAC Midget Race at ORP in Indianapolis.
ESPN on ABC will feature NASCAR Busch Series racing live Saturday, June 30, from New Hampshire International Speedway as the series makes its only appearance of 2007 at the 1.058-mile New England oval for the Camping World 200 presented by RVs.com. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday; the 200-lap race starts at 3 p.m.
This will be the fifth of six races this season ABC is scheduled to air. The next scheduled race on ABC will be from Chicagloland Speedway on July 14.
Dale Jarrett returns to the ESPN booth as analyst for the telecast, joined by two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play. Pit reporters will be Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro.
Brent Musburger will host NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN Pit Studio, while two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car.
A Spanish-language version of the race will be televised on ESPN Deportes, ESPN's domestic Spanish-language network.
Chevrolet Answers With Another Win To Extend Manufacturer Lead
For the eighth time this season, Chevrolet crossed the finish line first and in the process extended its lead in this week's Bill France Performance Cup standings.
Aric Almirola grabbed the pole at The Milwaukee Mile and was officially declared the race winner after Denny Hamlin relieved him on Lap 58 and went on to Victory Lane.
Ford is only eleven points back thanks to the the top-five finish Jason Keller put up at Milwaukee while fourth-place Toyota tightened the race for third with Dodge due to Jason Leffler's third-place finish at Milwaukee.
With 20 different race winners at New Hampshire, there's little dominance among manufacturers as well. Ford and Chevy each have seven wins at NHIS with Ford having won five of the last eight races at the Magic Mile.
Up Next: Winn Dixie 250 At Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway hosts the Winn Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo on July 6 at 7:30 p.m. ESPN2 will carry the race, the third and final restrictor-plate event for the NASCAR Busch Series this season.
Since the inception of this mid-summer event in 2002, there have been four winners with Dale Earnhardt Jr. leading the way with two victories, in 2003 and again last year.
Joe Nemechek captured the first event in 2002, followed by Earnhardt in '03, Mike Wallace in a last-lap thriller in '04 and Martin Truex Jr. in '05 (driving for his team co-owner Earnhardt).
The event could mark the final NASCAR Busch Series appearance by Earnhardt with Dale Earnhardt Inc., as he prepares to make his move to Hendrick Motorsports next season.
The Race: Camping World 200 presented by RVs.com
The Place: New Hampshire International Speedway
The Date: June 30, 20071
The Time: 3 p.m. (ET)
TV: ABC, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 1.058-mile oval
Race Purse: $1,164,835
2006 Winner: Carl Edwards
2006 Pole: Kyle Busch
Friday -- Practice, 9:40-10:50 a.m., 11:20-11:50 (rookies) and 1:45-3 p.m.
Saturday -- Qualifying, 10:05 a.m.