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2007 NASCAR Busch Series Preview
2007 NASCAR Busch Series Preview
The Busch Series once again plays host to Nextel Cup heavies
At first glance, there is nothing to indicate that this Busch Series season will be any different from 2006, when Nextel Cup drivers pushed everybody around. Full-time Cup drivers from huge, megabuck Cup teams won 33 of the 35 races. Thank you, David Gilliland, for winning at Kentucky in June, and you, Paul Menard, for winning the following weekend in Milwaukee. Cup drivers finished 1-2-3-4-5-7-9-10 in points.
Kevin Harvick won nine races and the title. Carl Edwards won four, Matt Kenseth three. Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. each won two. Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears and Dave Blaney each won one. All told, seven Cup drivers did the “double.”
It might not be quite that bad this year. As of now, only Edwards for Roush Racing, Blaney for
Bill Davis Racing, J.J. Yeley for Phoenix Racing and David Ragan for Roush Racing plan to double up. Pencil in Edwards—last year’s runner-up by an astonishing 824 points behind Harvick—as your 2007 series champion. After that, though, it’s anybody’s guess.
Bowyer and Hamlin finished third and fourth, respectively, last year, but won’t run the full schedule. Yeley was fifth but has hedged his bet about repeating the double. Sixth-ranked Menard moves full-time to Cup, and seventh-place Kyle Busch also will concentrate on Cup. Johnny Sauter finished eighth, which got him a full-time Cup ride with Haas CNC Racing. Greg Biffle and Reed Sorenson rounded out the top 10 but won’t run enough races this year to be title contenders.
That doesn’t mean Cup drivers will be absent when there’s a Busch race within sight. Evernham Motorsports will rotate five drivers among its Dodges, none often enough to be a title hopeful. Dale Earnhardt Inc. will have four drivers at various times in its Chevrolets, and Joe Gibbs Racing will have Chevys for four limited-schedule drivers. Richard Childress Racing will field Chevys for four drivers, and Kevin Harvick Inc. will have as many as eight drivers in its Chevys. Ganassi/Sabates plans to field part-time Dodges for five drivers, including Juan Pablo Montoya.
Roush Racing will enter full-time Fords for Edwards and David Ragan, plus a car for two part-timers. Wood Brothers/JTG Racing will run Jon Wood for the full season and part-time cars for at least three others. Robinson-Haas will rotate three drivers among its Chevys, and Brew-co Racing will use at least four in its Chevys. Penske will field Dodges for three part-timers, including reigning Indy Racing League and Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr.
As for the “real” Busch teams: Biagi-DenBeste and ppc merged with Braun and will field Toyotas for Blaney, John Andretti and Jason Leffler. Rensi Motorsports will field Fords for Bobby Hamilton Jr. Phoenix Racing will have Chevys for Mike Wallace and (presumably) Yeley. Rusty Wallace will field a Dodge for his son, Stephen, and Brent Sherman will drive Chevys for McGill Motorsports. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team (JR Motorsports) will field Chevys for Shane Huffman.
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