* (Three) Straight-Shooters: Edwards, Jeff Burton Seeking Third Wins In Succession * Series Charter Member Dale Jarrett Makes ESPN2 Booth Debut At Texas * Toyota's 2-4 Finish At Nashville Gives A Needed Boost In Manufacturer ...
* (Three) Straight-Shooters: Edwards, Jeff Burton Seeking Third Wins In Succession
* Series Charter Member Dale Jarrett Makes ESPN2 Booth Debut At Texas
* Toyota's 2-4 Finish At Nashville Gives A Needed Boost In Manufacturer Standings
Two Aim For Three: Edwards, Burton Go For Three Straight At Texas
Do the math -- two plus three equals ... one? Indeed, two drivers going for three straight wins this weekend can only come down to one victor.
Series points leader Carl Edwards (No. 60 Scott's Bonus S-Max Ford) has won the last two races -- two weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway and last week at Nashville.
Jeff Burton (No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet) also has won his last two races, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Burton did not race at Bristol or Nashville, so his quest isn't consecutive, as is Edwards', but the chase is just as impressive.
A NASCAR Busch Series driver hasn't won three races in succession since Ryan Newman did so in 2005. Newman also won in five straight starts that year, but not in consecutive races.
Reigning series champion Kevin Harvick (No. 33 RoadLoans.com Chevrolet) and all-time sereis wins (47) and poles (30) leader Mark Martin (No. 06 Dish Network Ford) are already members of the trifecta club, having won three races each at Texas to lead the series in that category. Both are entered Saturday, as is defending race winner Kurt Busch (No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Dodge).
Busch became the fifth driver in series history to win in his first start when he captured the victory in this event last April.
Strong Showing At Nashville Bolsters Toyota's Total
Ford won last week's race at Nashville but Toyota also gained momentum in the Bill France Performance Cup standings.
Carl Edwards' second consecutive win -- also the 350th overall for Roush Fenway Racing -- moved Ford to within four points of first-place Chevrolet heading to Texas where it leads all manufacturers with four victories.
Toyota captured positions two thorugh four at Nashville last week and is four points behind third-place Dodge, the closest it's been to third since a two-point deficit after the Mexico City event. Toyota was in second place after Daytona but has been mired in fourth since the series' second race at California Speedway.
In The Loop: Despite Last Year's Stumble, Edwards Still Tops
Carl Edwards' early NASCAR Busch Series points lead is impressive and so are his season-to-date Loop Data stats. Not only does Edwards lead in just about every category, he dominates.
For instance, his season-to-date Average Running Position is 6.483. Sitting in second is Dave Blaney (No. 10 ABF U-Pack Moving Toyota) at 14.748 -- over eight spots behind Edwards.
In terms of Driver Rating, Edwards is by far the class of the field at 118.1. Blaney -- second in the point standings -- is second in Driver Rating with 89.1. That's almost a 30-point difference.
One category that highlights consistency is Laps in the Top 15. Edwards leads that one, too. With 1,193 Laps in the top 15 (which translates to 93.8% of the laps he's run), Edwards leads second-place Kyle Busch (No. 5 Spectracide/Lowe's Chevrolet) by 281.
Edwards also stands atop the Quality Passes category; his 267 Quality Passes lead Blaney by 16.Edwards has built his lead over the last two races -- both of which he's won -- at Bristol and Nashville. His Driver Rating was a near-perfect and race-best 144.5 (the maximum is 150.0) at Nashville and 144.0 at Bristol.
His Average Running Position at Nashville was 3.382 and at Bristol, it was 1.703, both race-best numbers.
Can he keep it up? If his past numbers at Texas are any indication, probably. But he'll have to overcome a last-place finish in this race one year ago to once again pad his numbers.
He has an Average Running Position at Texas of 17.175, which is 25th-best in the four previous races and a Driver Rating of 87.1, which is 19th-best. With impressive finishes of fourth, third and seventh in three of his last four races at the 1.5-mile track, it's clear that his finish last year hurt his statistics at Texas.
Dale Jarrett, one of the charter members of the NASCAR Busch Series with 329 starts and 11 wins, makes his debut in the booth for ESPN2 at Texas serving as an analyst along with Andy Petree. Marty Reid will handle the race call. ... There have been seven different Busch Pole winners this season. ... Former series champoin Bobby Labonte (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet -- Corpus Christi) and rookie Robert Richardson Jr. (No. 80 Cloverleaf Custom Backyards Chevrolet -- McKinney) join Brad Coleman as Texas natives in the field. ... Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Toyota) captured his first Busch Pole in his first series start at Texas in 2000. Leffler (fourth) had his season-best finish at Nashville. ... Former series champion Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford) has three runner-up finishes at Texas and is seeking his first series win at the track. He has won in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (2005) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (2000) competition there. ... Shane Huffman (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) is a career-best eighth in the standings, a ranking which can be attributed to his improvement on 1.5-mile tracks. Huffman has finished ninth (Las Vegas) and 19th (Atlanta) at that distance thus far in 2007, an improvement over his average finish of 35th last year. ... Kevin Harvick seeks his 24th consecutive top-10 finish this weekend. ... David Reutimann (No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota -- second), Regan Smith (No. 4 Ginn Resorts Chevrolet -- fifth) and Stephen Leicht (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford -- eighth) had career-best finishes last Saturday at Nashville. ... Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingsford Ford) has re-claimed the Raybestos Rookie lead over Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) who returns to the series at Texas.
The Race: O'Reilly 300
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: April 14, 20071
The Time: 3:00 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN2, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 1.5-mile oval
Race Purse: $1,504,601
2006 Winner: Kurt Busch
2006 Pole: Denny Hamlin
Schedule: Thurs. April 12 -- 11:00 a.m. -- 12:10 p.m., Practice; 12:20 -- 12:50 p.m. Rookie Practice; 1 -- 2 p.m., Final Practice; 6:05 p.m., Qualifying (Impound).