BUSCH: Nashville: Raybestos Rookie preview

News and notes from the Raybestos Rookie Contenders - Busch Series * Scott Riggs was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. Riggs finished fourth, completing all 116 laps in the rain-shortened event. He...

News and notes from the Raybestos Rookie Contenders - Busch Series

* Scott Riggs was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. Riggs finished fourth, completing all 116 laps in the rain-shortened event. He scored his second top-five and fourth top-10 finish of the season and collected Raybestos® Rookie of the Race honors for the third time (Rockingham, Bristol, and Texas).

* Riggs leads the Raybestos® Rookie standings by 14 points (78-64) over Johnny Sauter entering the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway.

* Six Raybestos® Rookie Contenders started the O'Reilly 300 at Texas and four finished on the lead lap: Riggs, Sauter (15th), Kerry Earnhardt (23rd), and Shane Hmiel (25th). Kasey Kahne finished 36th while Casey Mears was 38th. All six rookies were running at the finish of the race.

* Johnny Sauter was the highest qualifying Raybestos Rookie at Texas, claiming the third starting position. This is the second time in 2002 he has been the top qualifying rookie. Sauter took the honor with a seventh place qualifying run in the season opening EAS/GNC Live Well 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

* 2001 Raybestos® Rookie of the Year Greg Biffle won his first career Busch Series race in last year's Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. Biffle led the most laps (five times for 133 laps) and scored the win by .602 second over Jason Keller. Biffle's win came in just his 10th career Busch Series start.

* Scott Wimmer scored the best finish of his young Busch Series career last year at Nashville. He finished third after leading the race once for two laps, giving the rookie class two members that finished in the top five. No other first year driver finished on the lead lap.

* Biffle was also the highest qualifying rookie at Nashville in 2001, edging Wimmer. Biffle started fourth, while Wimmer took the fifth starting spot.

* A total of six Raybestos® Rookies started last year's race at Nashville and five were running at the finish: Biffle, Wimmer, Tim Sauter (17th), McMurray (19th), and Marty Houston (23rd). The lone exception was Larry Foyt, who was sidelined by an accident and finished 29th.

* Riggs became the first Raybestos® Rookie in the Busch Series to win a pole position this season when he captured the top starting spot for the Channellock 250 at Bristol. His best of two qualifying laps was 15.196 seconds, 126.270 mph. He beat second place qualifier Jeff Green by just .06 second (or .497 mph). This is the third consecutive season that a Raybestos® Rookie Contender has won at least one pole and the fifth time in the last six seasons that a freshman driver has won a pole in the Busch Series. The most poles won in a single season: three, by Kenny Wallace in 1989.

* Shane Hmiel scored his second top-10 finish of the season at Bristol. He finished 10th, completing all 250 laps. He has two top-10s and one top-five finish entering the Nashville race.

* Riggs and Sauter are the only Raybestos® Rookies in the top-10 in Busch Series points. Riggs is seventh, 14 points behind sixth place Kenny Wallace and 12 ahead of eighth place Mike McLaughlin. Sauter is 10th in points, four behind ninth place Bobby Hamilton Jr. and 32 ahead of 11th place Scott Wimmer.

* Entering Saturday's race at Nashville, three Raybestos® Rookies have led at least one lap this season: Sauter (21), Riggs (8), and Casey Mears (4). Sauter has also led more miles than any other first year driver, a total of 21.36 miles. Riggs has held the top spot for 7.17 miles while Mears has led 6.00 miles.

* Five Raybestos® Rookie Contenders have started all six Busch Series races this season: Riggs, Sauter, Mears, Hmiel and Earnhardt.

* Earnhardt scored the best finish of his Busch Series career at Darlington, coming away with an 18th place finish. His previous best effort was 19th three races ago at Las Vegas.

* Riggs has just 25.23 unfinished miles this season entering the Pepsi 300, best of any Raybestos® Rookie Contender.

* Sauter became the first Raybestos® Rookie in the Busch Series to lead at least one lap in a race this season when he took the lead at Rockingham. He led once for 21 laps and was one of just five drivers who led the race. <pre> RAYBESTOS ROOKIE CONTENDER POINT STANDINGS

DRIVER              POINTS
Scott Riggs             78
Johnny Sauter           64
Shane Hmiel             54
Kerry Earnhardt         49
Casey Mears             46
Brian Vickers           31
Dan Pardus              21
Kasey Kahne             13

-raybestos-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller , Kenny Wallace , Greg Biffle , Jeff Green , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Casey Mears , Mike McLaughlin , Larry Foyt , Marty Houston , Scott Riggs , Kerry Earnhardt , Shane Hmiel , Johnny Sauter , Kasey Kahne , Scott Wimmer , Brian Vickers