* Edwards: Mexican drivers threats to win their "home" event *25th Anniversary archive: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is third road course for series races NEWS & NOTES "Double duty" drivers join other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars on ...
* Edwards: Mexican drivers threats to win their "home" event
*25th Anniversary archive: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is third road course for series races
NEWS & NOTES
"Double duty" drivers join other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars on entry list ... The seven drivers who are attempting to run the full season in both the NASCAR Busch Series and in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup -- Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet), Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), Kevin Harvick (No. 29 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) and J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet) will be joined by premier series regulars Jamie McMurray (No. 64 Bell Helicopter Dodge) and Michael Walltrip (No. 99 Aaron's Sales & Lease Chevrolet) on the entry list for Sunday's race. All but Waltrip competed in the event last year. Harvick (second), Edwards (third) and Bowyer (seventh) finished in the top 10 one year ago.
Mexican drivers offer formidable challenge ... In addition to Adrian Fernandez, Jorge Goeters and Carlos Contreras, each of whom was a factor is last year's race, the other Mexican drivers entered in the event present solid competition for their counterparts from the United States. Michel Jourdain Jr. (No. 15 Roshfrans Ford) participated in 20 NASCAR Busch Series events last year including the Mexico City race; his experience in a stock car plus his familiarity with the track from his time in Champ Car make him a favorite as well. Carlos Pardo (No. 34 Telcel/VecTech.MobiTech Chevrolet) won the inaugural Desafio Corona Series title in 2004, Mexico's stock car touring series. Pardo, who has run extensively on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez course, also started two former NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series (now Busch East Series) events in 2005. Other drivers from Mexico who have entered the event are Rogello Lopez (No. 67 Telmex Chevrolet) and Jimmy Morales (No. 68 Telmex Dodge).
Aces up their sleeve? ... Road course specialists will also pose a threat for a win on Sunday. Paul Tracy, who won at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in 2003 in Champ Car competition, will drive the No. 34 Geico Dodge for Biagi Bros. Racing in place of regular driver Mark Green. Ron Fellows (No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet) returns hoping to better his 41st-place finish one year ago due to an accident. Fellows has three NASCAR Busch Series road-course wins, all at Watkins Glen International. Marc Goossens (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford), the road-course ace from Belgium, will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut Sunday. This will be Goossens' first race in a stock car; his only other experience came back in January when he tested at Sebring International Raceway for Robert Yates Racing. Additionally, Chris Cook (No. 56 I'Alsace Chevrolet) returns for a second consecutive year. Cook finished 26th in last year's event. He owns his own driving and testing company, and has instructed drivers such as reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Tony Stewart.
Other duties for Fellows, Said ... In addition to the race, Ron Fellows and Boris Said (No. 9 Ingersoll-Rand Dodge) will serve in two roles this weekend. Not only will Fellows attempt to qualify the No. 33 car himself, but he will be a teammate to Raybestos Rookie Burney Lamar (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet). In addition, Fellows will also act as a teacher to Lamar, who has limited road-course experience. "[Ron] Hornaday will be making the trip to Mexico just to coach me and (Ron) Fellows is one of the best in the world at road-course racing," said Lamar. Said, meanwhile, has won pole awards in each of NASCAR's three national series. His first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series pole came at Infineon Raceway in 2003. In 1998, he captured the pole at Heartland Park (Topeka, Kan.) in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and at Watkins Glen in the NASCAR Busch Series. In addition to his driving responsibilities in Mexico City, Said also serves as a technical consultant on the development of road course cars and as a driver coach to the Evernham Motorsports stable of drivers.
IN THE LOOP
Biffle's win backed by Data ... The strong and consistent race run by Stater Bros. 300 winner Greg Biffle and the top-three finishers Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards was reflected in numerous Loop Data statistics from the event. The data is a new feature from NASCAR in partnership with stat experts STATS LLC. to provide in-depth statistical details dealing with more than the race winner. The top-three finishers also ranked as the top three in the Driver Rating, which ranks a driver's performance based on numerous criteria.
Biffle had the top driver rating at 136.9, followed closely by Roush Racing teammate Edwards at 134.6. Newman had the third-highest driver rating at 120.8. The Fastest Drivers By Turn Number report showed Biffle was the fastest driver in Turn One and Turn Three and was third-fastest in Turn Two and Turn Four. Jeff Burton was fastest in Turn Two while Edwards was fastest in Turn Four. Biffle and Newman were also near the top of the field in the Quality Pass category, which totals the number of times passing a car running in the top 15 under a green flag; each driver had 52 quality passes. Only Johnny Sauter (No. 01 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet), who finished 13th in the race, had more quality passes (53). Burton was third in quality passes, with 51. For the complete Loop Data statistics report, go to www.nascarmedia.com.
ON DECK: LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
A fourth different track in four races awaits the drivers of the NASCAR Busch Series next week when they compete at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway, site of Preseason Thunder testing just four weeks ago. The facility is also the fourth in four events where the teams will have woken up in a different time zone -- Daytona (Eastern Time), California (Pacific Time), Mexico City (Central Time) and back once again to Pacific Time in Vegas. Mark Martin captured this race one year ago, his second of back-to-back West Coast wins after having won at California the week before in 2005. Carl Edwards won the Busch Pole last year, his first in the NASCAR Busch Series. Jeff Burton and Martin are the only drivers to have won more than once in a series race at Las Vegas (two wins each), while Martin leads all drivers with two poles at the track.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Six drivers made their NASCAR Busch Series debuts at this race last year; all were from Mexico. ... Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is the 45th track the NASCAR Busch Series has raced on. ... Jorge Goeters set the qualifying standard last year with his Busch Pole at 103.366 mph. ... Race winner Martin Truex Jr. set the track record at 67.591 one year ago. ... Truex also set the mark for laps led, with 45 out of the 80 laps around the eight-turn track.
Ford has the early lead in the Bill France Performance Cup standings thanks to Greg Biffle's win at California last Saturday. Although tied with Chevrolet with one win on the young season, Ford leads with 15 points, Chevrolet is second with 13 points and Dodge is third with no wins and 10 points. ... NASCAR Busch Series owner Armando Fitz has joined forces with NASCAR's first Hispanic driver, Carlos Contreras, to establish a new NASCAR Mexico team -- FitzContreras Racing. The team will run all 14 races on the 2006 Desafio Corona schedule beginning with the first scheduled race in Guadalajara, Mexico on March 26. ... The Sauter brothers will play the role of the "Three Amigos" this weekend. Johnny Sauter will be joined in Mexico City by brothers Jay (No. 01 Western Union Chevrolet) and Tim (No. 36 Lester Buildings Chevrolet) who both make their first attempts at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Johnny and Tim will run the full NASCAR Busch Series schedule this season while Jay will run in selected events. ... Marc Goossens can speak four different languages -- Italian, Japanese, Dutch and French. ... Mark McFarland (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) received a score of four out of five in January at the Bob Bondurant School for High Performance Driving in preparation for the Mexico City event. The race will be his first on a road course in a stock car. On Monday, McFarland and his JR Motorsports team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., were guests of the famous Blue Angels, the Navy's Flight Demonstration Crew, and flew for an hour at speeds reaching Mach 1.2 or over 890 mph. ... Despite racing at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez for the first time in his career, Burney Lamar isn't new to road-course racing, having run five times at Infineon Raceway during his NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series career. ... Although he's spent the majority of his time working his way up the stock car racing ladder on oval tracks in recent years, Paul Menard (No. 11 Menard's Chevrolet) got his start in road-course racing and posted a victory in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series event at the Road America road course in Elkhart Lake in 2001. ... The 2006 season marks the 25th anniversary of series sponsor Anheuser-Busch. In the series' inaugural year in 1982, races were contested in seven states; the farthest west was Indiana. Today, races are run in 21 states, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Kansas, and internationally in Mexico City. Last year's event was the first points race for the NASCAR Busch Series held outside the United States.
"I really enjoyed our first trip to Mexico last year and I have been looking forward to going back. Last year I didn't know what to expect, so I just kept an open mind and I was extremely impressed. (We) posted a strong eighth-place finish, and this time we are looking to improve on that result. We had a tough finish last weekend in California when something broke on the car, so a strong run this weekend in Mexico would be good medicine." -- Kenny Wallace
"I've always been interested in NASCAR. Unfortunately, I have had to admire it from a distance. I went to California Speedway this past weekend to attend my first NASCAR Busch race. It was unbelievable how many fans were there." -- Marc Goossens
"I won at a road course race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Topeka in 1998. I love turning right and left." -- Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford)
"I talked to Jorge Goeters at California and he said to come talk to him if I needed help when I got there. I told him I'd be happy to return the favor at an oval track in the United States if he gets the chance to run another NASCAR Busch Series race this year." -- Todd Kluever
"Hopefully, being Adrian's teammate, I'll have a built-in fan base. I could do a lot worse than to be associated with the biggest sports star in the country." -- Kyle Busch
FROM THE NASCAR BUSCH SERIES 25th ANNIVERSARY ARCHIVES
The NASCAR Busch Series has had 15 road course events in its 25-year history. The courses involved have been Watkins Glen International, Road Atlanta and Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Watkins Glen leads all courses with 12 series events. Road Atlanta staged the series' first road course event in 1986 with Darrell Waltrip taking the checkers. Terry Labonte leads all series drivers in road course wins with four including three in a row from 1994 to '96. Each of his wins came at Watkins Glen. Canadian Ron Fellows follows Labonte with three victories. Labonte also leads all series drivers in road course Busch Poles with three.
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES 25th ANNIVERSARY QUOTEABLES
"I loved the NASCAR Busch Series. It was a heck of a lot of fun. Those years in it were the best years of my career, really. You knew it was serious hard racing because so many of those [NASCAR NEXTEL] Cup guys raced with us on a regular basis. When you won races or won a championship there, you did something. You made your mark in motorsports. It was fun and difficult." -- Chuck Bown, 1990 NASCAR Busch Series champion.
What: Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 presented by Banamex (Race No. 3 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico.
When: 2:05 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 5.
Track Layout: 2.518-mile road course (eight turns).
Race Length: 201.44 miles/80 laps.
Posted Awards: $2,452,988
TV: FOX, 2:00 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
2005 Polesitter: Jorge Goeters.
2006 NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Kevin Harvick 302. 2. J.J. Yeley 293. 3. Clint Bowyer 285. 4. Jamie McMurray 275. 5. Todd Kluever 273. 6. Burney Lamar 270. 7. Jon Wood 269. 8. Reed Sorenson 268. 9. Greg Biffle 265. 10. Denny Hamlin 255.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Fri., March 3 -- Practice, 1:15 -- 2:20 p.m.; "Rookie Practice," 2:15 -- 3:20 p.m.; Final Practice, 3:45 -- 5:00 p.m. Sat., March 4 -- Qualifying, 12:35 p.m. (Impound).