* Jourdain Jr. to meet President Bush at Latino Coalition Town Hall Meeting * Only 84 points separate fourth through ninth in NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 NEWS & NOTES Edwards, Bowyer putting squeeze on Sorenson ... Carl Edwards (No. 60 ...
* Jourdain Jr. to meet President Bush at Latino Coalition Town Hall Meeting
* Only 84 points separate fourth through ninth in NASCAR Busch Series Top 10
NEWS & NOTES
Edwards, Bowyer putting squeeze on Sorenson ... Carl Edwards (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) was able to put 70 points between his first-place ranking in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings and that of second-place Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) following Edwards' eighth-place finish at Phoenix. Sorenson, meanwhile, posted not only his worst finish of the season -- 32nd -- but the worst finish of his 14-race NASCAR Busch Series career. Edwards enters Talladega with a 1418 -- 1262 lead over fellow Raybestos Rookie Sorenson, who saw his lead over third-place Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) dwindle from 90 points before Phoenix to 33 heading into Talladega. Kenny Wallace (No. 22 Stacker 2 Ford) continues his resurgent season and stands in fourth place for the second consecutive week, but Martin Truex Jr. and rookie Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockewell Automation Chevrolet), who are in fifth and sixth, respectively with 1070 points, are closing quickly. In fact, the separation between Wallace (1088) and ninth-place Greg Biffle (No. 66 Duraflame Ford), last week's winner, is 84 points. David Stremme (No. 14 U.S. NAVY Dodge) rounds out the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 with 984 points.
Mr. Jourdain goes to Washington ... Michel Jourdain Jr. (No. 10 ppc Racing Ford) has been extended an invitation on behalf of the Latino Coalition to participate in a Town Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 4. The event will feature many high-profile speakers, including President George W. Bush. Jourdain will be introduced to the attendees by President Bush, and will in turn present the President with a Ford Racing/Latino Coalition jacket. Additionally, Jourdain has been invited to attend dinner that evening with the President and members of the Coalition. Jourdain, a former Champ Car standout who is a native of Mexico City, is attempting to become the first Hispanic driver to compete full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series and is currently 25th in the points standings.
Garage closing opens other activities ... For the second -- and final -- time this season, the NASCAR Busch Series garage will be closed on Friday following practice and qualifying on Thursday prior to Saturday's Aaron's 312 at Talladega. Two weeks ago at Texas, the new impound rule resulted in the same off-day for the NASCAR Busch Series as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series cars were not impounded following qualifying.
Kasey Kahne and Tyler Walker, who share time in the No. 38 Great Clips Dodge, will be among those drivers who will participate in the 20th annual "Race Fever" auction and barbeque Friday evening benefiting the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Brian Vickers -- the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series champion -- and Kyle Busch, who will drive the No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet in Saturday's race, will also be in attendance. ... Many teams are planning to use the day for a round of golf, including the No. 20 Rockwell Automation crew. Driver Denny Hamlin grudgingly played his first-ever round during the similar off-day at Texas, but enjoyed the experience so much he was the organizer of Friday's outing. ... Shane Hmiel's No. 32 WINFuel Chevrolet team is heading back to Mooresville, N.C., following qualifying on Thursday and will return to the track Saturday morning. Hmiel, however, has various media appearances and activities planned on Friday, including a visit to Race Fever. ... After his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying run Friday, Kenny Wallace is looking forward to participating on the Talladega Short Track in his dirt car, "The Herminator." He will also run on the dirt Saturday night.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Joe Nemechek led nine races and 191 laps in NASCAR Busch Series competition at Talladega. He has also collected three poles in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at the track. ... Defending champion Martin Truex Jr. is joined by Jason Keller (No. 35 McDonald's Ford) as former race winners in the field. Keller won in 2002. ... Clint Bowyer and Johnny Sauter (No. 1 Yellow Transportation Dodge) join Nemechek as former pole winners in the field. Bowyer sat on the pole at this event last year while Sauter claimed the top spot in 2002. It was the first NASCAR Busch Series pole for both drivers. ... Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford) has two poles at Talladega (both in 2001), however, they were won in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition. ... Nemechek is the only driver to have won from the pole at Talladega (1998).
The victory at Phoenix by 2002 NASCAR Busch Series champion Greg Biffle pushed Ford back into the lead in the Bill France Performance Cup standings for the first time in four races. Ford has four wins and 62 points while Chevrolet has three wins and 57 points. Dodge has two victories and 52 points. ... Tony Stewart (No. 33 Mr. Clean AutoDry Pro Series Chevrolet), who won his first NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona in February, is entered at Talladega and will attempt to go two-for-two at restrictor plate tracks this season. ... Reed Sorenson finished second last year in an ARCA race at Talladega, his only start at the track. However, Sorenson's crew chief, Brian Pattie, claims five of his 17 NASCAR Busch Series wins and eight of his 16 Busch Poles at restrictor plate tracks. ... Kasey Kahne (No. 6 Ragu Dodge) will show off his grilling skills at 8:30 a.m. Friday as part of an interactive cooking demonstration at the Hungry Drivers display area at Talladega. ... Elliott Sadler (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford) announced he will compete in the NASCAR Busch Series race under the lights at Richmond, his home track, on May 13. Sadler is from Emporia, Va. ... Chuck Meyers will serve as crew chief this weekend at Talladega for the No. 1 Yellow Transportation Dodge team, while Joe Shear Jr. serves the first race of his four-race suspension. ... Martin Truex Jr., Johnny Sauter, Carl Edwards, Kenny Wallace and Stanton Barrett (No. 36 KC Masterpiece Chevrolet) will attempt to qualify for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Talladega.
"Talladega will be great! I guarantee that Martin Truex Jr. won't be my drafting partner there, but we'll still have a good time." -- Carl Edwards
"Running a race at Talladega is a lot like driving on an eight-lane interstate." -- Stacy Compton
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Talladega Superspeedway has hosted 13 NASCAR Busch Series events since 1992. Joe Nemechek is the only repeat winner having been victorious in 1998 and 2000.
Nemechek became the first driver to win this event from the Busch Pole with his 1998 victory. He led the first 21 laps before giving up the top position to veteran Dick Trickle, who led the most laps in the event. Nemechek took the lead again on Lap 102 and held it to Lap 113 for the win.
Nemechek's second Talladega victory came in 2000 from deep in the starting field -- 35th position. There were 16 lead changes among 10 drivers, but Nemechek won the 10 bonus points for most laps led. He was followed to the checkered flag by Buckshot Jones, just .224 second behind.
Nemechek's "Front Row Joe" nickname truly applies at Talladega. He has won a record five poles at Talladega, including three in succession from 1996-98. His pole run of 193.517 mph in 1997 still stands as the qualifying record for this event.
What: Aaron's 312 (Race No. 10 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Ala.
When: 2:05 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 30.
Track Layout: 2.66-mile tri-oval.
Race Length: 312 miles/117 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,242,395.
TV: FOX, 2 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
2004 Polesitter: Clint Bowyer.
NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Carl Edwards 1,418. 2. Reed Sorenson 1,262. 3. Clint Bowyer 1,229. 4. Kenny Wallace 1,088. 5. Martin Truex Jr. 1,070. 6. Denny Hamlin 1,070. 7. Ashton Lewis Jr. 1,047. 8. Kevin Harvick 1,035. 9. Greg Biffle 1,004. 10. David Stremme 984.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thur., April 28: Practice -- 8:30 -- 10:30 a.m. Qualifying -- 4:05 p.m. Cars impounded after qualifying.