Entry list shows 50 drivers; 10 hail from Mexico Rookie Sorenson pushing for early-season points lead NEWS & NOTES Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 field numbers 50 ... The interest in the first points race for the NASCAR Busch Series held outside...
Entry list shows 50 drivers; 10 hail from Mexico
Rookie Sorenson pushing for early-season points lead
NEWS & NOTES
Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 field numbers 50 ... The interest in the first points race for the NASCAR Busch Series held outside the United States is high among competitors. The entry list for the race numbers 50, including 10 drivers from Mexico -- eight of those drivers call Mexico City their hometown. Included in the group from Mexico is Mara Reyes, who will drive the No. 49 Advil Ford. Reyes will be one of three females in the field, joining Shawna Robinson (No. 23 Vassarette Chevrolet) and Kim Crosby (No. 24 Boudreaux's Butt Paste Chevrolet). Four former NASCAR Busch Series champions are entered -- defending champion Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick (No. 21 Pelon Pelo Rico Chevrolet -- 2001), two-time champion Randy LaJoie (No. 34 Dollar General Chevrolet -- 1996-97) and David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Racing Ford -- 1994). Rusty Wallace (No. 64 Bell Helicopter Dodge), the 1998 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, is also entered.
Drivers to watch ... Since the Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 is an inaugural event, settling on favored drivers is a difficult task. However, there is NASCAR Busch Series road course history to go by. Ron Fellows has three NASCAR Busch Series road course wins to his credit, all at Watkins Glen when the series previously raced there from 1991-2001. Fellows won in 1998, then took consecutive victories in 2000-01. Fellows has won two NASCAR Busch Series road course poles, both also at The Glen. David Green (1996) and Boris Said (1998) also claimed a pole at Watkins Glen, while Rusty Wallace captured a NASCAR Busch Series road course pole at Road Atlanta (1987).
Among the Mexican drivers entered, Rafael Martinez (No. 0 Davis Motorsports Chevrolet) is a three-time Mustang Series champion in Mexico, a series that races stock cars. Carlos Contreras (No. 40 Rosh Frans Dodge), a familiar name who has experience both the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, is one of the favorites to capture the 2005 Desafio Corona championship, the stock car series that was launched in Mexico in 2004. Jorge Goeters (No. 66 Canels Scotia Bank Ford), who will team with Green for BREWCO Motorsports, has one title in the Mustang Series. Robinson has experience at Autodromo ... One NASCAR driver entered in the Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 field has a bit of an edge with previous experience at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Shawna Robinson raced Semi Trucks in the Great American Truck Racing Series at AHR in 1987. She finished third in the event, and pioneered a series rule change as her crew made special modifications to her truck including a different transmission for the road course and cutting the third axle off the rear of the truck to improve handling. The axle change was later adopted into the series rules.
"It was an incredible experience," Robinson said of her previous trip to Mexico City. "We did a ton of appearances all around the city and the fans were great. Everyone down there was so into racing. We really got the royal treatment and everything was done in a completely professional manner. From driver appearances to working at the track, you couldn't have asked for a better venue. I can only imagine what it will be like now to be coming in as part of NASCAR. It will be totally unlike anything we've ever experienced before and I can't wait to get there."
Sorenson an early surprise ... Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) is currently second in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, 47 behind 2001 series champion Kevin Harvick. Sorenson, 19, has two top-10 in his first two races this season, and has also posted fifth- and fourth-place starts at Daytona and California, respectively.
"I am just trying to get through the first few races and then I will look at the points standings," he said. "My main concern these past two races and the next three is making the race and then finishing in the top 10 and top 15 depending on the track. I think it has been fun to race with the Cup guys and all the vets, but I don't think twice about it. They will race you hard but it helps to make you a better driver and prepare me for the future."
Sorenson made his NASCAR Busch Series debut last year at IRP and ran in five races overall in 2004 and posted three top-five finishes in those events. His best finish was fourth at Homestead to close out the season. Sorenson has four consecutive top-10 finishes dating back to last season, and has also finished on the lead lap in his last four series races, the longest current streak in both categories among NASCAR Busch Series drivers. TV ratings have strong start ... The NASCAR Busch Series has produced increases in both households and viewers for the season's first two race weekends at Daytona and California compared to the same events last year.
The Stater Bros. 300, broadcast Feb. 26 on FX, was the highest-rated NASCAR Busch Series event in FX broadcast history and had a 55% increase in households (2,212,000) over the season's second race last year at Rockingham (1,424,000), also broadcast on FX. In addition, viewers (3,305,000) increased 83% over last year's second event (1,803,000). FOX's Daytona race broadcast on Feb. 18 had a household increase of 24% and a viewership uplift of 14% over last season.
Mexico race Travel Guide now available ... A travel guide for the Telcel Motorola 200 is now available on www.nbsmexico.com (User ID -- mexico; Password -- busch). This is a comprehensive guide detailing the trip with information relating to transportation, hotel, restaurants, event schedule, at-track meals and evening entertainment schedules, track and garage maps, UPS trackside services information, important contact information as well as useful information on Mexico City. A pocket copy of this travel guide will be available upon arrival to Mexico City via either charter flights or by check-in at the Hotel Nikko. Please see your NASCAR hotel representatives upon arrival for further information or additional travel guides.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
This will be the inaugural NASCAR event at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, a track that opened in 1962 with a non-points Formula 1 race. ... The Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 will mark the 45th different track on which the NASCAR Busch Series has raced, and the third different road course. The series has previously raced at Watkins Glen (11 races from 1991-2001) and Road Atlanta (two races from 1986-87). ... Terry Labonte is the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series road course wins with four, all at The Glen. ... Labonte also leads the series in road course poles with three -- two at Watkins Glen and one at Road Atlanta. ... Three of the 13 road course races in NASCAR Busch Series history have been won by the pole winner.
Kevin Harvick may be a race-time decision on Sunday. Harvick suffered torn cartilage in his strum/rib area as a result of an accident during the Gatorade Duels at Daytona. He did not get out of his car during the rain-delay during the NASCAR Busch Series Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway last Saturday due to the pain, but still managed to finish second. "Right now, my ribs are very sore, and I'll be lucky to be able to shift the car through the road course," he said. "If I can't drive, then Brandon Miller will [drive.]" ... Last Saturday at California, Michel Jourdain Jr. became the first Mexican driver to lead a lap in the NASCAR Busch Series. Fellow Mexican Carlos Contreras led two laps at Watkins Glen in the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and also led three laps at the Darlington truck race in 2002. ... Although having been fined $10,000 and suspended until March 30 (the next four races) by NASCAR for unapproved hinged air deflector modifications last week at California, Todd Lohse, crew chief of the No. 32 WinFuel Chevrolet, will still oversee the team in Mexico City as the team filed for an appeal with the National Stock Car Racing Commission, thereby deferring the penalties. ... Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Yard Man Chevrolet) will return to the NASCAR Busch Series for the event in Mexico City. Hornaday has four career series wins, and has finished in the Top 10 in the series in the last two seasons. He is now running in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, which, like the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, is off this weekend.
"NASCAR's growth can only be looked at as a positive for all of us and personally I am happy to be a competitor in the Busch Series as it tests the waters of growing internationally." -- Paul Wolfe (No. 6 Hellman's Dodge).
"This weekend will be the first time in Mexico for NASCAR, and a first time on a road course for a lot of the competitors. But for me, it's something that I've been looking forward to since they added it to the schedule." -- Paul Menard (No. 11 Menards Chevrolet).
"I think Mexico will prove to be a great move for our sport. The reaction from the sponsors has been fantastic. I'm sure the fans in Mexico City will react well to a new spectator sport." -- Kevin Harvick.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Francisco Eduardo Menedez, also known as Frank Mundy, was an early-day auto racing star who truly is a legend. Born in Atlanta, Ga., in 1918 to a Mexican father and Irish mother, Mundy's life reads like a Hollywood movie. He was a star tennis player in the 1930s, teaming up with the likes of Bobby Riggs. Later, he was a stunt driver in a thrill show that performed at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Mundy was always nattily dressed and possessed movie star good looks. Even today Mundy is always dapper and boasts a world-class wardrobe.
Growing up in Atlanta, Mundy was exposed to the spectacular stock car racing at Atlanta's Lakewood Speedway. He entered the world of motorsports after World War II and immediately achieved success, becoming one of the outstanding drivers of southeastern modified race cars. Mundy was one of the premier drivers in Bill France's new NASCAR organization and competed in four of the eight races for NASCAR's new Strictly Stock division (later known as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup) in 1949 placing fourth and fifth in two of the events.
Mundy teamed up with Spartanburg, S.C., Studebaker dealer Perry Smith in 1951, winning three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. He competed in NASCAR through the 1956 season driving a powerful Chrysler 300 for fabled team owner Carl Kiekhaefer. Mundy also drove in the AAA stock division where he won two national championships.
After retiring from a driving career, Mundy worked for Atlanta Raceway for many years where he was involved with staging pre-race activities. He later worked for the Roger Penske organization before retiring to his native Atlanta. He is still active in racing legends groups at age 86, receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Living Legends of Auto Racing organization in Daytona Beach, Florida this past February 16.
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: 3:10 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 6.
Track Layout: 2.518-mile road course.
Race Length: 201.44 miles/80 laps.
Posted Awards: $2,308,347
TV: FOX, 3 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Inaugural event.
2004 Polesitter: Inaugural event.
NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Kevin Harvick 340. 2. Reed Sorenson 293. 3. Carl Edwards 289. 4. Clint Bowyer 287. 5. Tony Stewart 271. 6. Ashton Lewis Jr. 254. 7. Joe Nemechek 248. 8. Martin Truex Jr. 233. 9. Paul Menard 220. 10. David Green 218.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday: Practice -- 8:30 11:50 a.m.; Final practice -- 3:30 -- 5 p.m. Saturday: Qualifying, 12:05 p.m.; cars impounded following qualifying.