* New faces at Nashville could represent next crop of series stars * RCR moves into third place all-time in series victories NEWS OF NOTE Subs take center stage ... With eight full time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers entered in Saturday's race,...
* New faces at Nashville could represent next crop of series stars
* RCR moves into third place all-time in series victories
NEWS OF NOTE
Subs take center stage ... With eight full time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers entered in Saturday's race, substitute drivers will be on call to accommodate the back-and-forth schedules between Nashville and Pocono. In addition to Hank Parker Jr. sitting in when necessary for Carl Edwards, the following drivers are prepared to do the same for those involved in double duty -- Brandon Miller for defending race winner Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet); Justin Labonte for Kyle Busch; Kertus Davis for Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet); two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie for series leader Kevin Harvick; Kevin Hamlin for Reed Sorenson and Casey Atwood for J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet).
Nashville Redux -- Bowyer and Sorenson one year later ... The winners of last year's Nashville races -- Clint Bowyer in this event and Reed Sorenson last April -- have gone on to solid Raybestos Rookie seasons in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Bowyer -- who finished second at Nashville in April to his Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick -- is having the better season thus far in 2006, entering Nashville third in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings and 16th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rankings. Sorenson -- 19th at Nashville two months ago -- is 12th in the NASCAR Busch Series standings, but only 16 points out of 10th. He's 21st in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rankings. Fellow rookie Denny Hamlin, who finished ninth and seventh in his first races at Nashville last year (and third in April) is the top rookie in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, ranking 11th this week. Hamlin is fourth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings.
New names at Nashville await their chances ... The NASCAR Busch Series has been both a career destination as well as a developmental opportunity, and three new faces will be at Nashville Superspeedway hoping to get their national series careers moving in the right direction. Auggie Vidovich II (No. 4 GEICO Dodge), who has raced in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series, looks to make his second consecutive series start this weekend after debuting last Saturday at Dover where he started 31st and finished 29th. "There were a lot of good racers who finished behind Auggie," said friend and mentor Ron Hornaday Jr., who drove the No. 33 Outdoor Channel Chevrolet to a fifth-place finish. "For that kid to run the race clean and finish with all the fenders on was a strong statement of how good he can be. Vidovich will be joined by Brad Coleman (No. 37 Federated Auto Parts Ford), an 18-year-old developmental driver for Brewco Motorsports. Coleman has competed in ARCA this season, and has stock car, open-wheel and sports car experience to draw from. He won the 2005 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series rookie points championship at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C. "I can't believe it was just four years ago that I was racing karts and now I have the opportunity of a lifetime to race in a Busch Series race," Coleman said. Additionally 22-year-old Cale Gale was named this week to drive the No. 1 Miccosukee Resort Dodge at Nashville. Gale comes out of Late Model and SAS Super Truck racing. Vidovich and Coleman are locked in for starting positions at Nashville, but Gale will have to qualify on time for his first NASCAR Busch Series race.
Ard auction raises over $36,000 ... As part of the 25th anniversary of the NASCAR Busch Series, Richmond International Raceway held an auction to benefit former series champion Sam Ard during last May's race weekend. The two-day event raised more than $36,000 to help assist Ard and his wife Jo with medical expenses. Ard was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease last year, while his wife was diagnosed with a degenerative eye ailment that could cause blindness. Auction items included a new 2006 Harley-Davidson XL1200L Sportster motorcycle and NASCAR leather jacket donated by NASCAR President Mike Helton, autographed race-worn uniforms and equipment, autographed diecasts, autographed sheet metal and a championship ring donated by former NASCAR Busch Series champion Jack Ingram. "As part of the 25th anniversary of the NASCAR Busch Series, [we're] proud to honor a champion who has helped make the series what it is today," said Doug Fritz, track president. "We owe a special thanks to the drivers, teams, tracks and the entire NASCAR community for their support and donations for the auction. The fan support throughout the auction shows that NASCAR is one big family." The money raised will go directly to the Sam Ard Care Fund. Those wishing to donate may do so via the Fund - Acct# 68212-03, Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 780004, Myrtle Beach, SC 29578.
Burton elevates RCR to third in series owner victories ... Jeff Burton's (No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet) win last Saturday at Dover not only moved him into a tie for fourth all-time in NASCAR Busch Series victories with 22 -- joining former series champions Tommy Ellis and Sam Ard -- but pushed his team owner, Richard Childress, into third all-time in series wins. With five wins this year between Burton and Kevin Harvick, Childress now has 31, moving ahead of Aline Ingram, who was listed as the owner for two-time series champion Jack Ingram's 30 wins. Teresa Earnhardt is second with 39 wins, while Jack Roush continues to build on his No. 1 position, now with 81 career NASCAR Busch Series wins. Childress is first in the 2006 series owner point standings while Roush is second.
IN THE LOOP: Wallace among Nashville leaders ... Despite being 19th in the point standings eight races ago, Kenny Wallace (No. 22 AutoZone Ford) has made inroads during that span to pull him within 11 points of 10th-place Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Chevrolet). Wallace, who has two second-place finishes and an eighth-place finish at Nashville in his last three races, could be poised for another good run, according to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, where he's ranked in the top 10 in some of the main categories over the last three events. He is sixth in Driver Rating (113.3) and fifth in Average Running Position (6.116). He's been consistent in the Fastest Drivers Early in a Run (156.809 mph) / Late in a Run (154.971) categories, ranking eighth in both over the last three races at Nashville. Wallace is ninth among those Fastest on Restarts (152.700), and also makes up positions by ranking ninth on the list of Fastest Drivers by Straightaway (backstretch), where he is ninth (161.161). He also makes headway in Turn Four (147.022) as evidenced by his ninth-place standing in that turn in the Fastest Driver by Turn Number category. Wallace also is among the top Closers at Nashville, tied for sixth with three positions gained in his last three outings.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK Five former winners at Nashville -- three via this event -- are entered in Saturday's race: Clint Bowyer (June 2005), Reed Sorenson (April 2005), Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Chevrolet -- June 2004), David Green (No. 27 Federated Auto Parts Ford -- April 2003) and Greg Biffle (No. 66 Cub Cadet Ford -- 2001). ... Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford), who has a series-leading streak of 164 races competed in, can become the all-time leader in starts (11) at Nashville on Saturday. ... Clint Bowyer has finished in the top five in each of his races at Nashville. ... Kenny Wallace is within $25,000 of surpassing the $6 million mark in NASCAR Busch Series career winnings.
ETC. Chevrolet cracked the double-digit win barrier thanks to Jeff Burton's victory at Dover last weekend. Chevy has 10 wins and 106 points and maintains its lead in the Bill France Performance Cup Standings. Ford is in second place with two wins and 84 points, while Dodge is in third with two victories and 76 points. Chevrolet leads all manufacturers in wins at Nashville with five and is one victory away from registering its 300th in the series. ... Kevin Harvick will write a guest column on Friday, Saturday and Sunday that will appear on nascarmedia.com and rcrracing.com chronicling the events surrounding his dual race schedule at Nashville and Pocono. The series leader is also eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. ... Mark McFarland (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) is scheduled to participate in the 16th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge at Greer Stadium in Nashville on Thursday. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and a number of country music artists, including Vince Gill, Chris Cagle and Bryan White also are scheduled to play. "I haven't played softball in years, so [I'm] going to practice this week so I don't embarrass myself too much," McFarland said. "They've got quite a lineup for both teams. It should be a lot of fun. The City of Hope does a lot of great work and I'm glad we can help out with this event." ... Mike Skinner will be pulling a different kind of double duty this weekend. He is scheduled to run in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Texas on Friday night before heading to Nashville to drive the No. 12 Supercuts/Trent Tomlinson Dodge on Saturday for FitzBradshaw Racing. ... Todd Kluever (No. 06 3M Ford) has been the top Raybestos Rookie finisher in the last two races and is just one point (126-125) behind John Andretti (No. 10 FreedomRoads Ford) in third place in the standings. Burney Lamar (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet) continues to lead the rookie rankings with 139 points.
"The guitar is one of the main reasons why I wanted to run full time in the Busch Series. To have one now is really neat. Hopefully, we can win this weekend and I will have two." -- Kevin Harvick on the winner's trophy at Nashville.
"We really respond to the concrete tracks. We had a great car at Dover and I know we're going to be just as good, if not better, when we get to Nashville." -- Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford), who finished 12th at Dover last Saturday, his best finish since last year's ninth at Pikes Peak.
"Over the past month, I feel like my team and I have grown stronger, performing better and better each week. We have continued to dig ourselves out of the hole we got in at the beginning of the season and it has shown each week. We're moving steadily up in both owner and driver points." -- David Green, who has moved from 28th to 17th in the standings over the last eight races.
FROM THE NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" ARCHIVES
Bobby Hamilton Sr. is one of the most popular and successful NASCAR drivers to come out of Nashville, Tenn. He first competed in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1988 making his first series start at Lowe's Motor Speedway in his own Chevrolet. He qualified 30th and finished a respectable 14th.
Hamilton's series career consists of 86 starts, one win, 11 top-five finishes and 22 top 10s. He finished 11th in points in both the 1989 and 1990 seasons, the only two years he ran a full schedule. His victory came at Richmond in September 1989. His son, Bobby Jr., followed him into racing and has compiled four NASCAR Busch Series wins.
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" QUOTABLES
"Of course, we went to a lot of race tracks, but at Nashville, you'd have to contend with Darrell Waltrip." -- Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion, on the toughest drivers he faced during his career.
ON DECK: KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY
The second of three consecutive stand-alone events is set for next Saturday at Kentucky Speedway. Carl Edwards is the defending race winner, having won from the Busch Pole. There have been five different race and pole winners at the 1.5-mile track located in Sparta, Ky.
What: Federated Auto Parts 300 (Race No. 15 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Nashville Superspeedway, Lebanon, Tenn.
When: 8:05 p.m. ET, Sat., June 10.
Track Layout: 1.333-mile oval.
Race Length: 300 miles/225 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,163,803.
TV: FX, 7:30 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 Winner: Clint Bowyer
2005 Polesitter: None (weather).
2006 NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Kevin Harvick 2,221. 2. Carl Edwards 1,924. 3. Clint Bowyer 1,818. 4. Denny Hamlin 1,793. 5. Kyle Busch 1,744. 6. J.J. Yeley 1,740. 7. Greg Biffle 1,738. 8. Paul Menard 1,632. 9. Johnny Sauter 1,532. 10. Jason Leffler 1,497.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Sat., June 10 -- Practice, 8:30-9:30 a.m.; Rookie Practice, 9:45-10:15 a.m.; Final Practice 10:30-11:30 a.m. Qualifying 4:05 p.m. (Impound).