NEWS OF NOTE Championship update with three to go... Greg Biffle (No. 60 Grainger Ford) finished fifth in last Sunday's Aaron's 312 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and added 14 points to his series standings lead over Jason Keller (No. 57 Albertson's...
NEWS OF NOTE
Championship update with three to go... Greg Biffle (No. 60 Grainger Ford) finished fifth in last Sunday's Aaron's 312 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and added 14 points to his series standings lead over Jason Keller (No. 57 Albertson's Ford). Biffle leads Keller by 119 points (4,404-4,285).
Barrett lands Roush ride ... Stanton Barrett Jr. was announced this week as Biffle's replacement in the No. 60, for next season. Biffle is moving up to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Barrett is bringing his 2002 sponsor OdoBan, with him. Barrett also is a renowned Hollywood stunt man, having appeared in films such as Batman, Jurassic Park III and Spiderman.
Sawyer returns ... Elton Sawyer, one of the most consistent NASCAR Busch Series drivers in recent years, returns to the series this week, driving Brewco Motorsports' No. 37 Timber Wolf Chevrolet. It will be Sawyer's 390th series start, the second-highest all-time total behind Tommy Houston's 417. Sawyer is sixth in career NASCAR Busch Series winnings, with $4,633,664. He has two victories and two Bud Poles. Sawyer has been out of a ride, since the team he drove for last season disbanded. Sawyer ended the 2001 season with an impressive second-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sawyer is replacing Kevin Lepage in the No. 37; Lepage took over the car in May, for injured Jeff Purvis. Sawyer finished in the top six in points from 1998-2001.
Etc. ... Greg Biffle has a doubly challenging weekend ahead. In addition to trying to stave off Jason Keller in the points race, he'll try to qualify the No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge for Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup race, the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400. ... Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) made his NASCAR Busch Series debut at North Carolina Speedway four years ago this weekend, finishing 37th. This season, Hamilton -- son of longtime NASCAR Winston Cup driver Bobby Hamilton -- has established himself as a weekly contender, with one victory, five top-fives and 14 top-10s.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Kenny Wallace (No. 48 Stacker2 Chevrolet) is the defending champion of the Sam's Club 200. He won the event last year after starting on the outside of the front row. The day after that run, Wallace started on the Bud Pole for the NASCAR Winston Cup race and finished second.
Jason Keller, looking to slice into Greg Biffle's points lead, won this past February's race at Rockingham. He also finished fourth in last year's Sam's Club and third in 2000.
Randy LaJoie has 11 top-10 finishes in 19 previous Rockingham starts, including a third-place run in this season's spring race.
WHAT'S THE WORD?
"The past two times I've run at Rockingham have been solid runs for me ... unfortunately, no matter how good you do at the last race, the next one is a do-over -- you have to start from scratch." -- Kenny Wallace, putting his recent success at Rockingham in perspective.
"Rockingham may not be as old as Darlington, but it can be just as tough." -- Fred Wanke (Bobby Hamilton Jr.'s crew chief), comparing North Carolina Speedway to Darlington Raceway, known also as "the Track Too Tough To Tame."
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The first NASCAR Busch Series race at Rockingham was in the spring of 1982; autumn Rockingham racing for the NASCAR Busch Series started in '84. The first two autumn races were won by Bodines, Geoffrey in '84 and Brett in '85. Both started on the pole.
North Carolina Speedway, Rockingham, N.C.
Pre-race schedule (all times local):
Practice, 9-11:15 a.m.
Practice, approximately 4:30.
Race, 1:00 p.m.