* First off-week for NASCAR Busch Series busy with testing at Richmond * Greg Biffle tops morning speed chart at 121.548 mph DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 28, 2006) -- Although no race is listed on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule this weekend,...
* First off-week for NASCAR Busch Series busy with testing at Richmond
* Greg Biffle tops morning speed chart at 121.548 mph
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 28, 2006) -- Although no race is listed on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule this weekend, 25 teams are using the first off-week of the season for the third of four scheduled tests this season.
Richmond International Raceway, site of the May 5 Circuit City 250 presented by Funai and the Sept. 8 Emerson Radio 250, follows Daytona International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the line of NASCAR Busch Series test sites.
Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Ultimate Chargers Dodge), who won the Busch Pole at the Richmond spring event last May before capturing his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory the next day, places high value on the test opportunity.
"[The NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup cars] are not identical so there are a lot of changes that you do have to make," said Kahne, who plans to run up to 19 races for Evernham Motorsports in NASCAR Busch Series competition this year. "I run the NASCAR Busch Series races mainly because I just enjoy racing. It makes your odds better to win a race. That's why we do this.
"We want to win and we want to do everything we can to run up front to win for our sponsors, our teams and everybody that puts in such a big effort behind us. I just enjoy racing and when you're driving for Ray Evernham, you have great race cars and it makes it that much better."
Kahne won the NASCAR Busch Series race at Las Vegas and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Atlanta, the only driver to win in NASCAR's top two national series this season.
Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ameriquest Ford), the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series champion, was fastest in the morning session at 121.548 mph (21.473 seconds). Biffle also is a 2006 winner, having claimed his 18th series win at California in February.
"I just can't imagine not racing in the NASCAR Busch Series," he said. "I enjoy running [these] cars. [They're] so much fun to drive and I think it's extra experience behind the wheel."
The evening test sessions are under the lights at Richmond, a first for the track. Emporia, Va., native Elliott Sadler (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford) likes the idea of the test session extending into the evening hours. Sadler finished second to Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest Ford) by .144 of a second at Richmond last May. The fall race at Richmond will be run under the lights.
"I think it's going to help us a lot and I'm glad the track is letting us do that," he said. "It's more like racing conditions and more of what we're going to be used to racing against. The track definitely changes under the lights [and] the test will help us fine-tune things a little more and put on an even better show for the fans when we come back."
This year, NASCAR has set a schedule for when and where each of its national series may test at tracks that host NASCAR events -- the teams' only opportunities to test at those tracks. Richmond is the only short track that teams can utilize for tests this season. Lowe's Motor Speedway will host the series May 8--10.
Forty-one drivers are scheduled to participate in the three-day session where teams select two of the three available days to test. Sessions run from 9 a.m. -- 9 p.m. weather permitting. Richmond is one of seven tracks the series has raced at since its inception in 1982. This year represents "25 Seasons Running" for the NASCAR Busch Series with series sponsor Anheuser-Busch.
For complete results of the NASCAR Busch Series test session at Richmond, log on to nascarmedia.com.
FROM THE 25 SEASONS RUNNING ARCHIVES
Richmond International Raceway began life in 1946 as a dirt track known as Strawberry Hill Speedway. It is one of seven "charter" tracks still on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule, having held events since the series' inaugural season of 1982. A total of 44 series races have been staged there, with three run in 1982.
Only one race was held at Richmond from 1985-88. Two races were on the 1989 schedule, but only the fall race was held due to a snowstorm which cancelled the spring event.
The Richmond facility was a half-mile in length until 1988 when its current three-quarter-mile configuration was first used. Events staged at Richmond have varied in length from 150 to 200 to 220 laps. The current distance of 250 laps was implemented in the fall of 1993.
Tommy Houston won the first series race held at Richmond in 1982. A total of 28 different NASCAR Busch Series drivers have won there with Mark Martin's five victories leading all drivers. Harry Gant is second with four series wins. Tommy Ellis and Michael Waltrip are tied on the all-time pole list with five each. Ellis won four poles out of the first seven races held at Richmond, including three in a row in 1983 and 1984. Jack Roush leads all car owners with seven wins.
What: NASCAR Busch Series testing.
Where: Richmond International Raceway.
Track Layout: Three-quarters mile oval.
When: Tuesday, March 28 -- Thursday., March 30
Times: 9 a.m. -- 9 p.m.; Lunch from Noon -- 1 p.m.; Dinner from 5 -- 6 p.m. Interview sessions in half-hour increments with multiple drivers Tuesday and Wednesday.
Who: Aric Almirola, John Andretti, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, Stacy Compton, Chris Cook, Justin Diercks, Carl Edwards, Aaron Fike, David Gilliland, David Green, Mark Green, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Joel Kauffman, Jason Keller, Matt Kenseth, Burney Lamar, Jason Leffler, Ashton Lewis, Jr., Mark McFarland, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Danny O'Quinn Jr., Steve Park, David Reutimann, Elliott Sadler, Johnny Sauter, Tim Sauter, Regan Smith, Martin Truex Jr., Kenny Wallace, Steve Wallace, Michael Waltrip, Jason White, Jon Wood, J.J. Yeley.