BUSCH: Texas: News of note, schedule

Bowyer's big day with RCR finally here NEWS & NOTES * Bowyer to take over No. 21 RCR ride at Texas ... How many drivers would like to be in Clint Bowyer's shoes right now? Kevin Harvick ran the first five races of the NASCAR Busch...

Bowyer's big day with RCR finally here


* Bowyer to take over No. 21 RCR ride at Texas ... How many drivers would like to be in Clint Bowyer's shoes right now? Kevin Harvick ran the first five races of the NASCAR Busch Series season in the No. 21 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet, but will turn the wheel over to Bowyer for his series debut at Texas. More than 100 friends and family have chartered two buses to make the trip from Bowyer's hometown of Emporia, Kan., to Texas Motor Speedway in order to attend the O'Reilly 300. The buses will leave Emporia and make the eight-hour trip to Fort Worth, and then return after the event. This isn't a bad following for a young man who began racing a Chevette on dirt at the age of 14.

"I'm really excited this week has finally arrived," Bowyer says. "I've been going to the track every week, watching and learning. It's really tough not to be behind the wheel of a race car when you're at the track. Our test went well, and I'm really excited. Richard Childress has given me an incredible opportunity, and I can't wait to make the most of it. I've talked with Kevin a bunch about what to expect. I just can't wait to get on track Thursday morning."


Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford) won the Busch Pole Award last year at Texas, with a speed of 187.474 mph. ... Joe Nemechek (No. 87 Cellular One Chevrolet) won last year's Texas event. He leads all drivers with four top-five finishes at the track. ... Jeff Burton (No. 9 Pennzoil Ford) is the all-time NASCAR Busch Series leader in top-10 finishes at Texas, with six. Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Weight Smart Ford) is second, with five. Kenseth is the track's NASCAR Busch Series lap leader with 242 to his credit. ... Jason Leffler (No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet) scored the first Busch Pole of his series career at Texas, in April 2000. ... Johnny Benson (No. 1 Yellow Transportation Dodge) holds the record for gaining the most spots in a NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas. He started 43rd and finished 15th in April 1999, an improvement of 28 positions. Chevrolet holds a slim 4-3 margin in the win column over Ford at Texas. Four different drivers have won for Chevrolet, while Mark Martin captured all three of Ford's victories.


* "I like Texas Motor Speedway. It's a good track to race on, and it's really fast. There are some great fans in Texas, and they show us a lot of support. The bottom groove is the spot at Texas. It's the fastest groove, and that's probably the one that everyone will want. You can pass pretty easily at Texas, much more than you could last weekend at Bristol. I always look forward to going to Texas." -- Kasey Kahne (No. 38 Great Clips Dodge), who qualified 20th and finished ninth last year at Texas.

* "I wish I knew [the key to racing at Texas Motor Speedway], because I have really struggled at this place. It is so fast, that you have to keep your momentum all the way around. If you are even a little loose or tight, you will fall back in a hurry. When the setup and feel is right, this is an easy track to drive. You need to really arc the car going into the corners to keep the speed up coming off the corners. That is probably the hardest part of driving the track." -- Ron Hornaday (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet). Hornaday's best finish in three NASCAR Busch Series races at Texas is a 12th in April 2002.

* "Our track record on the mile-and-a-half tracks over the last year has been fantastic. We have won or been in position to win at just about every mile-and-a-half track since [crew chief] Harold Holly joined our team. Harold does such a good job with our race bodies and getting the cars to grip going through the turns, so we can beat everyone else to the gas at the exit of the turns." -- Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford).


Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the first race of his NASCAR Busch Series career in rather exciting fashion on April 4, 1998 at Texas Motor Speedway. Earnhardt grabbed the lead by giving Joe Nemechek a tap coming off Turn 4 on the next-to-last lap. It was the first of seven wins that year for Earnhardt, who went on to capture the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series championship.


What: O'Reilly 300 (Race No. 6 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas.
When: 2 p.m. (ET), Saturday, April 3, 2004.

Track layout: 1.5-mile banked paved oval.
Race length: 200 laps/300 miles.

TV: Fox, 2 p.m. (ET).
Radio: PRN, XM Satellite.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday--Practice, 12:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m.; Qualifying, 4 p.m. Friday--Final Practice, 10 a.m.-11:10 a.m.


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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Bobby Hamilton , Matt Kenseth , Jason Keller , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Kasey Kahne , Clint Bowyer , Mark Martin