*To All-Time Win Total Keller Resumes Trek Towards Series Starts Record *McClure Set To Celebrate With Cincinnati Reds NBS ETC. Keller Countdown: Jason Keller (No. 11 CARFAX Ford) returns to the series after a two-week break to resume his...
*To All-Time Win Total Keller Resumes Trek Towards Series Starts Record
*McClure Set To Celebrate With Cincinnati Reds
Keller Countdown: Jason Keller (No. 11 CARFAX Ford) returns to the series after a two-week break to resume his march toward the all-time NASCAR Busch Series starts mark of 417 held by Tommy Houston. Keller must qualify on time but has put the No. 11 car in the field the previous five races he's run for owner Bryan Mullett. Keller comes to Michigan with 411 starts and is the only driver other than Houston to have 400 or more starts in series history. The next closest active driver is David Green, the 1994 series champion who is in fourth place with 386. Green is running the remainder of the season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. In addition to chasing the starts mark, the 37-year-old Keller will add to his all-time earnings record, now standing at $11,040,796 -- the only driver in series history to top the $11 million mark.
Hornish Jr. Returns to NASCAR: Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 12 Mobil 1 Dodge) will make his first appearance in the NASCAR Busch Series since participating at Richmond International Raceway in May. Hornish, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner who is fifth in the IRL point standings, seeks to qualify for his sixth NASCAR Busch Series race this year and the eighth of his career. Hornish earned his first stock-car pole this past June in the ARCA event at Michigan and finished second. He has competed in seven races in different series at Michigan, leading six of those events and posting four top-five finishes. His hometown of Defiance, Ohio, is an hour from the speedway and he considers the track his home venue.
McClure Set To Visit Cincinnati Reds: Eric McClure (No. 0 Hefty Brand Chevrolet) will travel to Cincinnati on Monday, August 20 to celebrate "NASCAR Night" with the Cincinnati Reds. McClure will participate in first-pitch ceremonies and drive Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory around in his No. 0 Hefty Chevy before the game. Former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champions Rusty Wallace and Terry Labonte along with Kyle Busch also are scheduled to join the festivities.
"I'm a huge baseball and sports guy," McClure said. "I played through college and coached youth ball for seven years. There are a lot of drivers out there and the fact that I was invited is pretty special."
COUNTDOWN TO 417
Jason Keller has 411 career starts; the series record is 417. He must qualify on time for all but one of his remaining races (Calif. -- Brewco).
The Director's Take: Michigan
INSIGHT FROM JOE BALASH, NASCAR BUSCH SERIES DIRECTOR
"Aerodynamics is the key word to racing at Michigan International Speedway. How the teams have their body placed on their chassis to run the 2-mile speedway will pay big dividends over the course of the race.
"Having the body at the right attitude, sealing the nose of the car to the track ... all those attributes combine to build speed.
"The long straight-aways coupled with wide, sweeping turns make Michigan a fast race track. Teams will work to reduce the drag on their cars while drivers will look to gain a faster straight speed without scrubbing off any speed in the turn to pull away from their competition."
Rookie Spotlight: Coleman Starting To Surge In "Battle Of The Brads"
Coleman Shows He Belongs: After two impressive top-10 runs on tracks he had never seen before, 19-year-old Brad Coleman (No. 18 Carino's Italian Grill Chevrolet) is finally headed to familiar territory at Michigan International Speedway. Now in fifth place in the Raybestos Rookie standings after passing Brad Keselowski, Coleman returns to the site where he registered top-five finishes in both of his ARCA races at MIS for Brewco Motorsports last year.
"I love Michigan and am ready to navigate that great track again," said Coleman. "It will be quite an experience coming off the tight and technical turns of Montreal and Watkins Glen to the wide open, high speed banks of MIS. Our team is looking forward to being back on the ovals and we could not pick a better one to start on than Michigan."
Besides being the youngest driver on the track in both road races, he was one of only three drivers to finish in the top 10 in both events. The others were Kevin Harvick -- who won both races -- and his RCR teammate Jeff Burton.
In 12 races for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2007, the native of Houston, Texas, has posted three top fives, five top 10s and seven top-20 finishes along with winning the pole at Talladega Superspeedway last April.
Chevrolet Answers With Another Win To Extend Manufacturer Lead
For the 13th-time this season, Chevrolet crossed the finish line first to extend its lead in the Bill France Performance Cup standings.
Kevin Harvick's win at Watkins Glen gives him a series-leading five wins on the season and is a good omen for Chevy, which has the most series wins at Michigan International Speedway with 10.
Ford remains second, 39 points ahead of third-place Dodge. Toyota is fourth.
David Gilliand (No. 25 FreeCreditReport.com Ford) understands what a victory at Michigan means from a manufacturer perspective.
"All of the major car manufacturers' headquarters are right down the road from where we'll be racing," he said. "A lot of their VIPs will be at our race, so [drivers] want to make sure we give a strong showing. That's going to add a little bit of excitement to the race because no one wants to let down their manufacturer."
Up Next: Food City 250 At Bristol Motor Speedway
A newly-resurfaced Bristol Motor Speedway awaits the traditional excitement of the August race and 100,000-plus spectators next Friday night. ESPN2 will air the Food City 250 at 8 p.m ET.
Last year's winner, Matt Kenseth, crossed the finish line just ahead of Kevin Harvick by .968 seconds to claim his third series win at Bristol. Don't count Harvick out though, because he's tied with Morgan Shepherd with the most wins at Bristol with four. Shepherd also is tied with Jason Keller for the most poles at the track with three.
Ryan Newman posted the fastest time last season with a lap of 124.436 mph to put the Roger Penske Dodge on the pole. It will be interesting to see if the new surface will raise the speeds during qualifying, scheduled to be held just hours before the start of the race.
The Race: CARFAX 250
The Place: Michigan International Speedway
The Date: Aug. 18, 20071
The Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN2, 3 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 2-mile oval
Race Purse: $1,216,807
2006 Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2006 Pole: Mark Martin
Pre-Race Schedule: Friday -- Practice, 1:10-2:15 p.m., 2:30-3 p.m. (Rookies) and 4:45 p.m. (Final -- one hour, time permitting) Saturday -- Qualifying, 11:10 a.m.