BUSCH: Talladega: Raybestos Rookie contenders preview

News and notes from the Raybestos Rookie contenders - Busch Series * Scott Riggs won the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway, his first career Busch Series win. In the process, Riggs collected Raybestos® Rookie of the Race honors for the...

News and notes from the Raybestos Rookie contenders - Busch Series

* Scott Riggs won the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway, his first career Busch Series win. In the process, Riggs collected Raybestos® Rookie of the Race honors for the fourth time this season. He now has three top-five and five top-10 finishes entering Saturday's Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway.

* Riggs became the second consecutive Raybestos® Rookie to win the spring race at Nashville. Greg Biffle won the Pepsi 300 last April.

* Riggs leads the Raybestos® Rookie standings by 27 points (99-72) over Johnny Sauter entering Saturday's race at Talladega.

* Riggs led the race just once covering the final 47 laps. Shane Hmiel was the only other rookie to lead at least one lap at Nashville, holding the top spot once for one lap.

* Kerry Earnhardt scored his best career Busch Series finish at Nashville. Earnhardt finished eighth and scored the first top-10 of his career.

* Hmiel won the pole for the Pepsi 300 at Nashville, the second Raybestos® Rookie Contender of the 2002 season to nab the top spot in time trials. Hmiel set a track record in the process, lapping the 1.333 mile speedway in 29.725 seconds, 161.440 mph.

* Six Raybestos® Rookie Contenders started the Pepsi 300 at Nashville and five were running at the finish: Riggs, Earnhardt, Johnny Sauter (12th), Hmiel (19th) and Casey Mears (23rd). Dan Pardus was eliminated in an accident and was credited with a 32nd place finish.

* 2001 Raybestos® Rookie of the Year Greg Biffle was the top finishing rookie in last year's Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. Biffle started 31st and finished ninth, completing all 113 laps. Freshman drivers Larry Foyt (12th) and Tim Sauter (15th) also finished on the lead lap and were the only rookies running at the end of the race. Accidents sidelined Jamie McMurray (29th), David Donohue (33rd), and Marty Houston (37th) while engine failure eliminated Scott Wimmer (42nd).

* No Raybestos® Rookie led a lap at Talladega last year.

* Tim Sauter was the highest qualifying rookie in last year's race at Talladega, earning the seventh starting position. In fact, four Raybestos® Rookies started in the top-17: Sauter, Scott Wimmer (10th), Jamie McMurray (13th) and Larry Foyt (17th).

* Five Raybestos® Rookie Contenders have started all seven Busch Series races this season: Riggs, Sauter, Mears, Hmiel and Earnhardt.

* Riggs has just 25.23 unfinished miles this season entering the Pepsi 300, best of any Raybestos® Rookie Contender. <pre> RAYBESTOS ROOKIE CONTENDER POINT STANDINGS

Driver                  Points
Scott Riggs             99
Johnny Sauter           72
Shane Hmiel             63
Kerry Earnhardt         61
Casey Mears             52
Brian Vickers           31
Dan Pardus              26
Kasey Kahne             13

-raybestos-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Greg Biffle , Casey Mears , Larry Foyt , Marty Houston , Jamie McMurray , Scott Riggs , Kerry Earnhardt , Tim Sauter , David Donohue , Shane Hmiel , Johnny Sauter , Kasey Kahne , Scott Wimmer , Brian Vickers