Off-week notes 2009-03-10

NASCAR Nationwide Series News & Notes - Open Week If It's An Odd-Numbered Season, Edwards Must Be In The Lead DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Mar. 10, 2009) - It's an odd thing. Since his first full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2005, ...

NASCAR Nationwide Series News & Notes - Open Week

If It's An Odd-Numbered Season, Edwards Must Be In The Lead

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Mar. 10, 2009) - It's an odd thing.

Since his first full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2005, Carl Edwards has led the driver standings during the odd-numbered years.

In the even-numbered seasons, he's been solid, but has never been first.

Following his second-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Feb. 28, Edwards jumped Kyle Busch for the driver standings lead, the first time he'd been in the top spot since officially claiming the series championship in November 2007 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Edwards never relinquished the points lead after the third race of the 2007 season. In 2005, he was first for 10 consecutive weeks and ultimately finished third in the standings.

During his two even years of full-time competition, Edwards failed to lead the standings but did finish second in the championship.

He was second to Clint Bowyer in 2008 and runner-up to Kevin Harvick in 2006.

First Repeat Wins For Busch Bros. Came In Nationwide Series

Kurt Busch's win at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race last Sunday followed his younger brother Kyle's victory at Las Vegas the week before.

That showing by the Busch Brothers was the third time in their NASCAR national series careers they'd accomplished the back-to-back feat. The first time was in 2006 -- in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Kyle started by winning at Bristol Motor Speedway in March. Following an open week for the series, Kurt was in line at Texas Motor Speedway for his first career NASCAR Nationwide start.

Kurt won at Texas, becoming the fifth driver in series history to register a victory in his first series start. The win also made the Busches the first brothers to win consecutive series races since Terry and Bobby Labonte at Atlanta and Nashville in 1996.

NNS Etc.

Gaughan Fishin': Brendan Gaughan has taken his open week to the extreme.

The Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings leader who's fourth in the driver standings -- the highest-ranking series-only regular -- has developed many interests outside of his race car; one of those passions is scuba diving.

Gaughan has taken a trip to the remote Socorro Islands off the West Coast of Mexico where he hopes to dive alongside creatures of the deep including Giant Pacific Manta Rays, humpback whales and several varieties of sharks like Hammerhead, Whale, Whitetip and Galapagos.

"I've gotten more and more into diving over the last several years and I really love it," he said. "I'm not sure that Rusty (Wallace, team owner) is too sure about me shark diving, but if I can handle a Nationwide Series car, hopefully I can handle this."

Owner/Driver Davis 2009 Debut At Bristol: Marc Davis will attempt to qualify the No. 36 Toyota for his first series race of the season next week at Bristol.

At the ripe age of 18, Davis is on the ambitious owner/driver path with Marc Davis Motorsports, which features a Limited Late Model team and has also supported Bandeleros.

His 2009 NASCAR Nationwide schedule includes at least three races, those upcoming at Richmond International Raceway, Lowe's Motor Speedway and Dover International Raceway.

He's also aiming for his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut this summer at Infineon Raceway.

Davis competed in his first four NASCAR Nationwide races last year and qualified fourth at Memphis Motorsports Park in his series debut. His best finish was 23rd, also at Memphis.

Davis also is the ninth driver to compete for 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors.

More Series "Rookies:" Three NASCAR Nationwide families have welcomed new additions over the last few weeks.

Dan Deeringhoff, the 2008 driver champion crew chief for Clint Bowyer, and his wife Sandy are the proud parents of Addison Lynne, born Feb. 18 (7 pounds, 5 ounces).

Jami McDowell, wife of Michael, delivered son Trace Christopher on Feb. 25 (7 pounds, 7 ounces).

And Burney Lamar and his wife, model Niki Taylor, welcomed daughter Ciel Taylor on March 4 (7 pounds, eight ounces).

The babies were the first for each couple; Taylor also has 14-year old twin sons.

Up Next -- Bristol: Following the first consecutive open weeks since 1996, teams return to the racetrack next Saturday, March 21, at Bristol.

The Scotts Turf Builder 300 will be broadcast on ABC beginning with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at 2 p.m. ET. It's the first of four NASCAR Nationwide Series races to be broadcast on ABC.

Clint Bowyer won last year's rain-shortened event, his only win en route to the series driver championship.

Kevin Harvick, the two-time series champion, is tied with Morgan Shepherd for the most wins at Bristol (four).

In The Loop: Vickers Part-Time Ride With Braun Translates Into Full-Blown Success

Brian Vickers is making the most of his NASCAR Nationwide Series opportunities.

Though pre-season prognosticators pointed toward full-time double-duty drivers Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch or part-timers Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton to run roughshod over the series, Vickers has proven to be an early force.

The 2003 series champion has launched himself into second place in the standings and directly to the top of a number of key statistical categories according to NASCAR's Loop Data.

He currently ranks first in Average Running Position (6.7), second in Driver Rating (111.3), fourth in Fastest Laps Run (20), third in Average Green Flag Speed rank (5.333) and first in Laps in the Top 15 (468 for a percentage of 97.7).

Through his first three races, Vickers has posted three top-10 finishes including his first top-five of the year, a third-place finish two weeks ago at Las Vegas.

In 15 career races for Braun dating back to last year, Vickers has two poles and seven top-fives among his 11 top-10 finishes.

In that span, he has posted a Driver Rating of 101.3, an Average Running Position of 11.5, 149 Fastest Laps Run, a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 76.3 and a Pass Differential of plus-118 (passes minus times passed).

Vickers is scheduled to run in 17 races this year for Braun Racing, sharing the driving duties for the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota with Burney Lamar.

Fast Facts

Next Race: Scotts Turf Builder 300
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, March 21
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
The Distance: 159.9 miles / 300 laps

TV: ABC, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: Sirius NASCAR Radio / PRN

2008 Winner: Clint Bowyer
2008 Polesitter: Scott Wimmer (via final 2007 points; qualifying rained out)

Friday-Practice 1:40-3:15 p.m.; Final Practice 4:45-5:45 p.m.
Saturday-Qualifying 9:40 a.m.

-credit: nascar

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Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Scott Wimmer , Brendan Gaughan , Morgan Shepherd , Brian Vickers , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer , Burney Lamar , Marc Davis , Kyle Busch