BUSCH: Richmond II: News of note, schedule

Hmiel a hotshoe on short tracks Homecoming with a cause for Lewis * Hmiel expects to do well on Richmond's short track layout ... Shane Hmiel (No. 48 Innovative Motorsports Chevrolet) has yet to finish out of the top 10 this year in four...

Hmiel a hotshoe on short tracks
Homecoming with a cause for Lewis

* Hmiel expects to do well on Richmond's short track layout ... Shane Hmiel (No. 48 Innovative Motorsports Chevrolet) has yet to finish out of the top 10 this year in four short track races. He's finished fourth in the last two, at Indianapolis Raceway Park and Bristol Motor Speedway. His Aug. 2 showdown with eventual race-winner Brian Vickers was one for the ages, as the two youngsters locked horns -- and fenders -- for nearly all the last half of the event as they dueled for the lead. Hmiel is the only driver who has recorded top-10 finishes in all four short-track races this season. Hmiel qualified fourth and finished eighth in Richmond's spring event. "I look forward to racing at Richmond more than any other track on the circuit," Hmiel said. "It's my favorite track. Night racing is a blast, and there are two grooves that come into play at RIR. We're taking the same car that ran so well at IRP to Richmond, so we're really excited about our chances."

* A homecoming with a cause for Lewis Motorsports ... Ashton Lewis drives for a team owned by his father, Ashton Sr. His crew chief is brother Charlie, and they're all from Chesapeake, Va., about 95 miles from Richmond. They consider RIR their home track. For the Funai 250, the hood of Lewis' No. 46 Civil Air Patrol Chevrolet will feature a logo for the Pentagon Memorial, honoring those who lost their lives at the Pentagon and on American Airlines Flight 77 on Sept. 11, 2001. Construction of the Pentagon Memorial is being funded entirely by private donations.


* Jason Keller is tied with four other drivers for third on the all-time Bud Pole list at RIR, with two. ... Johnny Sauter (No. 43 Channellock/Curb Records Chevrolet) finished fifth at Richmond in September 2001, in his first-ever NASCAR Busch Series start. ... Brian Vickers collected his first NASCAR Busch Series top 10 at RIR in February 2002 by finishing seventh.


* "It's going to be very interesting, given the fact there are five different teams that could win the championship this late in the season. If we continue to do what we've done all season and be consistent, we'll be in a good position when Homestead comes around. One thing is for sure, this team is not going to give up." -- Brian Vickers, on his chances at winning the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series championship.

* "Richmond is a real racer's race track. It is such an awesome place because it is very rare you can find a short track where you have plenty of room to race. It is fun to go race where aerodynamics, motor and fuel mileage play less of a factor and it is put back into the team's hands of getting your car to handle properly. The best handling car that stays out of trouble will be in victory lane at the end." -- Scott Wimmer, who finished fifth in Richmond's spring race.

* "Richmond is a good track for us. As long as we can stay out of trouble, which is much easier said than done, we should have a good, strong finish. David was comfortable here earlier this year, and we know how he liked the car setup, so we are a step ahead of where we were then. The way I see it, we stand a good chance of running up front." -- Jon Wolfe, car chief for David Stremme (No. 1 Yellow Transportation Dodge).


* Tommy Houston won Richmond's first race in what is now known as the NASCAR Busch Series, on Feb. 20, 1982. It was the second race in what was then called the Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series, and Houston collected $5,000 for his efforts. Bubba Nissen, Rick Mast, Bosco Lowe and Mike Porter rounded out the top five. Current NASCAR Winston Cup Series star Dale Jarrett finished sixth.

Fast Facts

What: Funai 250 (Race 26 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Richmond International Raceway.
When: 8 p.m. (ET), Friday, Sept. 5.

Track layout: 0.75-mile oval.
Race length: 250 laps/187.5 miles.

TV: TNT, 8 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday--Practice, Noon-1:55 p.m.; Qualifying, 3 p.m.; Practice, 6:15-7:15 p.m.


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Drivers Dale Jarrett , Jason Keller , Rick Mast , Shane Hmiel , Johnny Sauter , Brian Vickers , David Stremme