EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Aaron's 312; Time and Date: 2 p.m. EDT, Saturday, April 24; Site: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Ala. Live Coverage: Fox (television) at 2 p.m. EDT and MRN (radio) at 1:30 p.m. EDT; Qualifying:...
EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Aaron's 312; Time and Date: 2 p.m. EDT, Saturday, April 24; Site: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Ala. Live Coverage: Fox (television) at 2 p.m. EDT and MRN (radio) at 1:30 p.m. EDT; Qualifying: 3:10 p.m. EDT, Thursday, April 22, Live on SPEED (television); Happy Hour: Friday, April 23.
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS - For the first time in NASCAR Busch Series history, the Owners' Championship and the Drivers' Championship were split. The No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet team won the Owners' Championship in commanding fashion, clinching the title at Rockingham with one race remaining in the season. The team finished 261 points ahead of the No. 5 team of Brian Vickers, who claimed the Drivers' Championship. In 2004, the No. 21 Chevrolet carries the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups colors as the team attempts to defend its title. Harvick will compete in 20 of the 34 Busch Series events this season, and rookie driver Clint Bowyer will drive the No. 21 Reese's Chevy in the 14 other events on the schedule.
A NASHVILLE STAR - The rookie Bowyer took Nashville Superspeedway by storm two weeks ago. Bowyer, who was looking for redemption after a disappointing Texas outing, went to Nashville with plenty of confidence. He qualified the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet in the 19th position, but wasted no time driving to the front when the race began. Bowyer led 104 laps and seemed to be in position to win before the caution flag waved with a handful of laps remaining in the event. Bowyer and three other competitors were collected in a spin off turn two with just two laps remaining in the race. Bowyer finished fourth.
WHAT'S NEXT -Bowyer opened the eyes of the NASCAR world after his dominating performance at Nashville, but with just 14 Busch Series races scheduled for Bowyer so far this season, he will have to continue to perform at the top in each race he enters. Bowyer will drive at Talladega this weekend. While he turns the keys to the Reese's Chevrolet over to Harvick in California, Bowyer will compete in the NASCAR West Series event.
THE SUPER SUPERSPEEDWAY-Restrictor plate racing can be considered boring, but with the new rules package for the Busch Series cars, it can be exciting. The new wicker package for the roof and spoiler provided great racing action in Daytona to start the season. Now the series travels to the largest track on the circuit, the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. This will be the biggest track on which the rookie Bowyer has competed in his young career. Bowyer will drive a well-prepared RCR Monte Carlo and will receive pointers from his teammate Harvick.
MODIFIED WINNER-Bowyer returned home to Kansas City during the off weekend to compete at the track that made him famous, Lakeside Speedway. Bowyer drove his No. 79 dirt modified to an "A" feature win on Friday in front of a sellout crowd. Bowyer has won two track championships at Lakeside.
THE CAR-This week, crew chief Ricky Viers will load chassis No. 038 onto the Reese's transporter. This is the same car that Harvick drove to a fourth-place finish in the Hershey's Kisses 300 at Daytona. It was the car's first race.
QUICK QUOTES AND NOTES:
Crew chief Ricky Viers on Bowyer's limited experience on a superspeedway-"Clint learned a lot from the ARCA race he competed in at Daytona. He got out of the draft and shuffled around, so he knows the importance of staying in line and being patient. He'll be fine, I'm sure he'll talk with Kevin [Harvick] and get a good plan developed for the race."
On the rules package-"It really only effects qualifying. Once the cars are in race trim, it doesn't have as big of a difference. The race setups are good, and the cars we have are good and should run up front all day. It will play into pit strategy a little bit, but we should be all right."
Clint Bowyer on Talladega-"I'm excited to get down there and get back in the seat. We had a good run in the ARCA race at Daytona, and I learned a lot from that race. This race is a whole different race package, but we've tested and we should be all right. I just need stay with my teammate and hope we're in position at the end."
On what he learned from the Daytona ARCA race- "I learned not to get out of the draft too early. Patience is the key. RCR has great cars, and we're capable of running up front. I just need to stay calm and wait for the right time to get out of line and go to the front."
* The No. 21 Reese's team is now fourth in the Busch Series owner's standings, 59 points behind the No. 8 team (Dale Earnhardt Jr. /Martin Truex Jr.).
* Harvick will return to the driver's seat of the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet next weekend at California Speedway.
* Nashville marked the first time in 2004 that someone other than Kyle Busch was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race. That honor went to Bowyer.
* Bowyer will compete in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series event at California Speedway in May.
* Bowyer will be in Kansas City on Monday and Tuesday taking part in several promotional events for the Kansas Speedway.
* Bowyer's first race car was a Chevrolet Chevette in the pony stock division. He drove it at the tender age of 14.