* Johnny Sauter working his way up NASCAR Busch Series standings * Mastering different sports: Rookie Gilliland recalls high school golf with teammate Tiger Woods NEWS & NOTES Johnny Sauter on the move since Daytona difficulty ... Despite...
* Johnny Sauter working his way up NASCAR Busch Series standings
* Mastering different sports: Rookie Gilliland recalls high school golf with teammate Tiger Woods
NEWS & NOTES
Johnny Sauter on the move since Daytona difficulty ... Despite a disappointing 35th place finish at Daytona International Speedway, Johnny Sauter (No. 00 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet) has become one of the hottest drivers on the NASCAR Busch Series. In the five races since the season-opener, Sauter -- now sixth in the standings -- has finished no worse than 15th, including a season-best sixth-place finish in Mexico City in only his third career road-course start. "I really consider this to be the best opportunity of my career given the team resources, the guys I have supporting me and the fact that everyone at Yellow has put their confidence in me for another season," Sauter said. "The NASCAR Busch Series has become so competitive and it's ever-changing. [NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series] drivers have been racing in the NASCAR Busch Series for years but not to the extent that we see today. It's a big challenge but we're not going to concede. We're here to win a championship and so far, we've proven that we can compete among the best." Gilliland working to "Master" his craft ... David Gilliland (No. 84 Clay Andrews Racing Chevrolet) will attempt to make his fourth NASCAR Busch Series start and his first at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. The rookie driver is hoping someday to experience success in his chosen athletic field just like his high school varsity golf teammate Tiger Woods. As Gilliland races at Texas, Woods will attempt to defend his Masters title at Augusta. Gilliland went to school with Woods in California from sixth grade through his sophomore year at Western High School prior to his family moving. He played two years of varsity golf with Woods. "I was never his partner on the course," Gilliland said. "I was playing golf for a different reason. I knew that playing golf would help me on the business side of racing. I wanted to be good enough to be on a course with potential sponsors. We're (Gilliland and Woods) not on the same team anymore, but I know we're both chasing success this weekend."
"Shrub" is the veteran this time around ... This time around, Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet) has one up on his older brother, Kurt. Kyle, who has 61 NASCAR Busch Series starts and seven wins -- the most recent two weeks ago at Bristol -- will be the more experienced driver this weekend at Texas as Kurt attempts to make his first NASCAR Busch Series start in the No. 39 Penske Truck Rental Dodge. Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman were slated to share a partial schedule in that car this season. Kurt, the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, will have to qualify on time to make the field. Kyle's Hendrick Motorsports entry is 16th in the series owner standings, guaranteeing him a starting spot on Saturday. He ranks 14th in the standings and is one of seven drivers attempting to run a full season in both the NASCAR Busch Series and in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
IN THE LOOP: Biffle heading to Texas with high hopes ... Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ameriquest Ford) heads to Texas looking to rebound from a loose wheel that cost him a top finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 2002 NASCAR Busch Series champion was strong at Texas last season with two second place finishes and NASCAR's new Loop Data statistics illustrate why. Biffle led the field in Average Running Position at 3.165 while defending race winner Kasey Kahne (6.643) was fifth and fall winner Kevin Harvick (3.300) was second. Contributing to Biffle's strong Average Running Position statistic was his ability to compete in the top 15 for 399 of 400 laps in NASCAR Busch Series competition last season at Texas. The overall Driver Rating statistic is led by Harvick, the 2001 series champ, with a rating of 127.3. Biffle is a close second at 127.0 and Kahne stands fourth at 121.6. Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) (68) leads the field in the Quality Passes statistic, which measures how many times a driver passes a car in the top 15. Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Ameriquest Ford) and Biffle his Roush Racing teammate, are tied at 66 for the second spot in the Quality Passes category. The data is a new feature from NASCAR in partnership with stat experts STATS LLC to provide in-depth statistical details dealing with more than the race winner. For the complete Loop Data statistics report and a glossary of category terms, go to www.nascarmedia.com.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK: Mark Martin (No. 6 Pennzoil Platinum Ford) is the NASCAR Busch Series wins leader at Texas with three -- he has run five series races at the track. Martin is the all-time wins leader in series history with 47. ... Jason Keller (No. 1 Miccosukee Resort Dodge) is the only driver to have started the previous 10 races at Texas. ... Matt Kenseth has had eight top 10s in nine races at Texas while Jeff Burton (No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet) has finished in the top 10 in each of his seven races at Texas. ... Kenseth has led the most laps (272) and the most races (five) at the 1.5-mile track. ... Burton is tied with five other drivers -- including Martin and Kenseth -- for second at Texas with three top-five finishes. ... Kevin Harvick (No. 33 Dollar General Chevrolet), the series points leader and two-time winner at Texas, leads all drivers in average finishes there (4.2).
ETC. Kyle Busch's win at Bristol pushed Chevrolet's lead to nine points over Dodge and Ford in the Bill France Performance Cup standings. Chevrolet has four wins and 44 points while Dodge and Ford are tied for second with one win and 35 points each. Chevrolet's five wins are the most in NASCAR Busch Series competition at Texas. However Ford, Dodge and Chevy have won the last three races, respectively. ... Only two races at Texas have been won by the driver that has also led the most laps -- last year's event by Kasey Kahne and Kevin Harvick in the 2001 spring race. ... Mark Martin's next Busch Pole will make him the all-time series leader with 29 -- he is tied with Tommy Ellis. A top-five finish at Texas would be the 100th of Martin's NASCAR Busch Series career. ... Native Texan A.J. Foyt IV will lead a group of Raybestos Rookies to the Stockyards Championship Rodeo at the Cowtown Coliseum in Ft. Worth on Friday at 8 p.m. Foyt will be joined by Danny O'Quinn (No. 50 Stonebridge Life Ford), FitzBradshaw Racing teammates Tracy Hines (No. 14 Jani-King Dodge) and Joel Kauffman (No. 12 Supercuts Dodge) and Chris Wimmer (No. 23 Keith Coleman Racing Chevrolet). The drivers will be shown around the facility, introduced to the rodeo participants and introduced prior to the event. ... John Andretti's (No. 10 FreedomRoads Ford) finish at Bristol marked his first top-10 in the NASCAR Busch Series in his brief seven-race career. ... Two crew members with Todd Kluever's No. 06 3M Ford team are from Texas -- Kenny DeGuisto, a tire specialist, is from Garland and Chaz Meyer, fabricator/rear tire changer, is from Dallas. Kluever had a top-10 finish at Texas last fall in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition. ... There have been 10 different race winners in the last 10 races dating back to last October at Memphis; likewise, there have been six different Busch Pole winners in the last six events since last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. ... Three drivers can reach career milestones at Texas this weekend -- Paul Menard (No. 11 Menard's Chevrolet) can reach his 75th start, Jay Sauter (No. 01 Western Union Chevrolet) his 100th start and Greg Biffle his 150th. ... Kevin Harvick surpassed the $6 million mark in winnings at Bristol two weeks ago, a mark reached by only seven other drivers. ... Jason Keller's streak of races competed in has reached 277. ... Brewco Motorsports developmental driver Brad Coleman was sixth-fastest in ARCA testing last week at Nashville Superspeedway. The 18-year-old stock car, sports car and open-wheel driver is scheduled for seven NASCAR Busch Series races this season.
"I feel like we really started to turn things around in Atlanta and we finally got our first top-10 finish in Bristol. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks because we've got some really good tracks coming up. We ran strong at Texas last year and we finished second twice last season at Nashville, so hopefully we are on the upswing." -- Kenny Wallace (No. 22 AutoZoneFord).
"I'm really happy here. It's a blessing really to get hooked up with Todd Braun and Todd Lohse. I had a tough year last year and everything turned out good. To get hooked up with these guys and run good out of the box has really helped." -- Jason Leffler (No. 32 ABF U-Pack Chevrolet).
FROM THE NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" ARCHIVES
Kasey Kahne's win at the 2005 O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway came from the 25th starting position, the deepest of any NASCAR Busch Series winner at Texas. It was Kahne's second career series victory and the first series win for Dodge at the Texas facility. Kahne took Akins Motorsports to Victory Lane by a .304-second margin over 2002 series champion, Greg Biffle.
Kahne first made his way to the front of the pack on Lap 53 and remained there for 40 laps. He led again on Lap 194 for the remaining six laps. The lead changed hands a record 17 times among 10 drivers with Kahne picking up the 10-point bonus for most laps led.
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" QUOTEABLES
"I remember when I came in there [were drivers like] Tommy Houston. And I thought 'I hope I can be somewhat like Tommy Houston.' Hopefully I've got a little bit toward that direction. It's still an awful lot of fun ... to celebrate 25 years [with] them." -- David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford), 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion.
Note: A NASCAR Busch Series "25 Seasons Running" Media Kit CD is available at-track each race weekend and also on-line at nascarmedia.com. A CD can also be obtained by contacting NASCAR PR.
ON DECK: NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY
The NASCAR Busch Series makes the first of two trips to Nashville Superspeedway this season on April 15 for the Pepsi 300. Reed Sorenson dominated the race last year en route to his first series win. Sorenson, then a Raybestos Rookie, became the first driver to win from the Busch Pole at Nashville -- his first career pole. His win of more than 14 seconds over second-place Kenny Wallace (No. 22 AutoZone Ford) also included a track record 197 laps led.
What: O'Reilly 300 (Race No. 7 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas.
When: 3:10 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 8.
Track Layout: 1.5-mile oval.
Race Length: 300 laps/200 miles.
Posted Awards: $1,483,250
TV: FOX, 3:00 p.m., ET.
Radio: PRN, XM Satellite.
2005 Winner: Kasey Kahne.
2005 Polesitter: Shane Hmiel.
2006 NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Kevin Harvick 952. 2. J.J. Yeley 831. 3. Denny Hamlin 814. 4. Clint Bowyer 791. 5. Carl Edwards 774. 6. Johnny Sauter 711. 7. Burney Lamar 709. 8. Jon Wood 708. 9. Jason Leffler 706. 10.Jamie McMurray 698.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thurs., April 6 -- Practice, 11:00 a.m. - Noon; "Rookie Practice," 12:30 -- 1:00 p.m.; Final Practice 1 -- 2:00 p.m. Qualifying 6:05 p.m. (Impound).