NBS ETC. Germain Racing Makes Series Jump: On the heels of its 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, Toyota's first NASCAR national series title, Germain Racing looks to make its debut in the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend at...
Germain Racing Makes Series Jump: On the heels of its 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, Toyota's first NASCAR national series title, Germain Racing looks to make its debut in the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend at Gateway. Todd Bodine, the 2006 Craftsman Truck champion and long-time NASCAR Busch Series competitor, will drive the No. 03 Germain Racing Toyota in its inaugural venture. Bodine won in the Truck Series at Gateway last year and likes the opportunity to make the team's NASCAR Busch Series debut there. "We've been working on putting together a Busch program for a long time," said Bodine. "I'm glad we're getting on track with our first Busch Series race at a place where we've had success as a team, and I've had success as a driver."
Bodine has 316 NASCAR Busch Series career starts, with 157 top-10 and 89 top-five finishes. He has 15 victories and seven pole awards. In his "regular" job, driving the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota for Germain Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Bodine is third in the standings with one win and one pole this season.
Cassill Debuts For Hendrick: Continuing with the NASCAR Busch Series debut theme, a new face will be on the scene at Gateway as 18-year-old Landon Cassill, a driver for Hendrick Motorsports, is scheduled to drive the No. 24 National Guard Chevrolet. Cassill, who turned 18 on July 7, recently moved to Charlotte from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after graduating with honors from Jefferson High School. Cassill has competed in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series and in ARCA events leading up to his anticipated debut in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Coleman Returns: It's been a long wait in his mind, but Brad Coleman (No. 18 Carino's Chevrolet) returns to the NASCAR Busch Series following a three-race layoff. The 19-year-old Coleman, who has a pole and three top-10 finsihes in his last four races -- including consecutive top fives at Kentucky and The Milwaukee Mile -- is scheduled to run the next six races for owner Joe Gibbs, marking Coleman's longest starting string of the season. In the interim, the Houston, Texas native has been working out to gain strength and traveling to the race track to gain knowledge. He's also spent countless hours on a simulator to prepare for the upcoming six tracks. The layoff might be more of a good thing than Coleman thinks -- the last time he returned from a break -- earlier this year with a six-week absence -- he posted his career-best finish (second) at Kentucky.
Edwards' Adventure: It's well-known that NASCAR Busch Series standings leader Carl Edwards enjoys working out and that bicycling is one of his favorite fitness elements. But even Edwards acknowledges that his latest endeavor -- riding his bike from his home in Columbia to Gateway International Raceway -- is a first. Edwards will utilize the buddy system, riding with friends over what he believes will be a two-day trip. He also plans to race against his younger brother, Kenny, on Sunday at I-80 Speedway in Omaha, Neb., on Carl Edwards Night at the track in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition. The Director's Take
INSIGHT FROM JOE BALASH, NASCAR BUSCH SERIES DIRECTOR
"Gateway is a more difficult track for crew chiefs and drivers to dial in their car because Turns 1 and 2 have 11 degrees of banking, while Turns 3 and 4 have nine degrees.
Although Turns 1 and 2 have more banking, it's a much tighter radius in the corner than in 3 and 4.
Teams are always making a compromise with the race car because of the differences at each end of the track.
The crew chiefs and drivers that get on the same page and find a balance with the differences in the race track are going to be the teams that run up front."
News From The NAPA Auto Parts 200
Canadians In The Field: As the entry list begins to take shape for the NAPA Auto Parts 200, the list of Canadian drivers is solidifying as well. Led by Patrick Carpentier, who last week announced his intention to drive the No. 22 Fitz Motorsports Dodge in the event.
ESPN2 will feature NASCAR Busch Series racing live from Gateway International Raceway on Saturday night. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 8:00 p.m. ET; the race starts at 8:30 p.m. ET. ESPN2 will carry the final practice session on Friday evening as well as qualifying on Saturday.
Allen Bestwick hosts NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN Pit Studio, joined by Rusty Wallace -- who returns to his hometown of St. Louis -- and analyst Brad Daugherty, while Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car.
Wallace will work in the ESPN booth as lead analyst for the telecast and will be joined by Andy Petree. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake.
ESPN2 will also have live coverage of qualifying from Gateway along with the final practice session. Practice coverage will air at 7:00 p.m. ET Friday, with the live qualifying show for the Gateway 250 hosted by Bestwick beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
Three Different Winners In Last Three Races At Gateway; Ford Has Recent Edge
Gateway International Raceway hasn't had a repeat winner since two-time series champion Kevin Harvick won consecutive races in 2000-01. Likewise, there hasn't been a manufacturer to repeat at Gateway since Ford in 2002-03.
Over the last three races at Gateway, three different manufacturers have gone to Victory Lane. That could bode well for Toyota, currently in fourth place but rising in the Bill France Performance Cup standings.
Toyota has yet to win in NASCAR Busch Series competition this season, but has fared well this season on tracks just over one mile in length. Toyota is only three points behind third-place Dodge, the 2005 winner Reed Sorenson.
First-place Chevrolet last won at Gateway in 2004 but comes to the track with momentum having won one week ago at Chicagoland with Harvick behind the wheel.
Ford, in second place in the standings, has defending race winner Carl Edwards in the fold to go for back-to-back victories.
Up Next: Kroger 200 At O'Reilly Raceway Park At Indianapolis
The longest-standing race sponsor in the NASCAR Busch Series, Kroger, once again holds the title for next Saturday's event at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. ESPN2 will carry the race live beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Although considered a "stand-alone" event, the NASCAR Busch Series will share the 0.686-mile stage with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, which will run the previous evening.
Kevin Harvick is the defending winner of the Kroger 200 while Denny Hamlin captured the Busch Pole last year.
The race is the second of three consecutive stand-alone events on the series' summer schedule. The last in the group will be the inaugural race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Aug. 4. The Director's Take: Gateway
The Race: Gateway 250
The Place: Gateway International Raceway
The Date: July 21, 20071
The Time: 8:30 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN2, 8:00 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 1.25-mile oval
Race Purse: $1,532,287
2006 Winner: Carl Edwards
2006 Pole: Denny Hamlin
Fri.: 6 -- 7:00 p.m. -- Practice; Rookie Practice; 7:15 -- 7:45 p.m. -- Final Practice 8 -- 9:00 p.m. (one hour, time permitting).
Sat.: 3:35 p.m. -- Qualifying (Impound).