Carquest Auto Parts 300 News and Notes

Carquest Auto Parts 300 News and Notes

49 drivers on Busch Series entry list
SCENEDAILY

Forty-nine Busch Series cars are on the preliminary NASCAR entry list for this weekend's Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

The field features 27 drivers who are also planning to compete in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup race.

One newcomer to the series this weekend is veteran David Green racing for Riley/D'Hondt Motorsports. The group also has a second team car entered with a driver to be named on the list.

Aric Almirola is in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 this weekend, and Todd Kluever has switched to the No. 26.

Cup drivers attempting to make the race are

Clint Bowyer (No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet)
Kyle Busch (No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)
David Ragan (No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford)
Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge)
Dave Blaney (No. 10 Braun Racing Toyota)
Kurt Busch (No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge)
Greg Biffle (No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford)
Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford)
Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet)
Scott Wimmer (No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet)
Casey Mears (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)
David Gilliland (No. 25 Team Rensi Motorsports Ford)
Ward Burton (No. 27 Brewco Motorsports Ford)
Johnny Sauter (No. 28 Jay Robinson Racing Chevrolet)
Jeff Burton (No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet)
Bill Eliott (No. 32 Braun Racing Toyota)
Kevin Harvick (No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet)
Jamie McMurray (No. 37 Brewco Motorsports Ford)
Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge)
Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge)
Mike Bliss (No. 44 Fitz Motorsports Chevrolet)
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)
Robby Gordon (No. 55 Robby Gordon Motorsports Ford)
Carl Edwards (No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford)
Kevin Lepage (No. 72 MacDonald Motorsports Dodge )
David Reutimann (No. 99 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota)

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Carl Edwards Looking to Capture His Second Consecutive Win at Lowe’s Motor Speedway
May 22, 2007

NASCAR Busch Series points leader Carl Edwards (No. 60 Scotts/Ortho Ford) has to feel good about his chances to build on his lead and capture his second consecutive win at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

His competitors, on the other hand, must feel like they’re getting hit with a double-whammy.

Edwards is tied for the series lead with two wins and owns a series-high eight top fives to go with 11 top-10 finishes in the season’s first 12 races.

Not only is he the defending race winner at LMS, but he led each of the four test sessions over a two-day period last Monday and Tuesday at the track including a fast lap of 29.565 seconds (182.648 mph) during the Monday evening session – similar conditions to those on Saturday night’s race.

Edwards also paces three of the top five categories in Loop Data. He’s first in Average Running Position (6.987), in Quality Passes (573) and in Laps in the Top 15 (2.053). 

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BUSCH NOTES

NASCAR Busch Series Becoming A Proving Ground For Open-Wheelers

The NASCAR Busch Series not only is a proving ground for young drivers aspiring to make the jump to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, but it is fast becoming an opportunity for drivers in open-wheel racing to prove themselves in a stock car.

On this Memorial Day holiday weekend, Charlotte has become the place for some fomer open-wheelers who seek new challenges to conquer, starting with Saturday night’s NASCAR Busch Series event – The CARQUEST Auto Parts 300.

Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge), a former Indy 500 champion who last March also became a NASCAR Busch Series winner with his victory in Mexico City, is firmly planted in the series top 10 and is only two points out of the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings lead.

J.J. Yeley (No. 1 Miccosukee Resorts Chevrolet) finished ninth in the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie in 1998. He’s one of five drivers pulling “double-duty” this year, running full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series and in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

Dave Blaney (No. 10 ABF U-Pack Moving Toyota) is fourth in the points and captured his first national series win when he won the NASCAR Busch Series race at LMS last fall. He began his career in sprint cars.

Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Country Crock Dodge) is another open-wheel alum who worked his way through the NASCAR Busch Series to gain a ride in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Ditto with Casey Mears (No. 24 National Guard Ford) who, like Montoya and Blaney, claims a NASCAR win in NASCAR Busch Series competition. Robby Gordon (No. 55 Verizon Wireless Ford) pulled the Indy 500-Coca Cola 600 “double” in 2002-03 and now owns teams in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and in the NASCAR Busch Series. He looks to help develop other drivers – open-wheeler Ryan Hunter Reay for starters – for NASCAR competition.

Defending Race Winner Edwards Also Fastest At Last Week’s LMS Test

NASCAR Busch Series points leader Carl Edwards (No. 60 Scotts/Ortho Ford) has to feel good about his chances to build on his lead and capture his second consecutive win at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

His competitors, on the other hand, must feel like they’re getting hit with a double-whammy.

Edwards is tied for the series lead with two wins and owns a series-high eight top fives to go with 11 top-10 finishes in the season’s first 12 races.

Not only is he the defending race winner at LMS, but he led each of the four test sessions over a two-day period last Monday and Tuesday at the track including a fast lap of 29.565 seconds (182.648 mph) during the Monday evening session – similar conditions to those on Saturday night’s race.

Edwards also paces three of the top five categories in Loop Data. He’s first in Average Running Position (6.987), in Quality Passes (573) and in Laps in the Top 15 (2.053).

In The Loop: Kurt Busch Picks His Spot In Charlotte But Watch For Mears and Kluever

Kurt Busch (No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Dodge) chooses his NASCAR Busch Series races wisely.

The Las Vegas native has run two of the 12 events thus far in 2007 and has finishes of fourth and eighth, respectively.

He’ll run his third NASCAR Busch Series race Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and a little analysis shows why he’s picked this race.

In his first career series race at LMS last year, Busch finished second behind Carl Edwards. Busch had a Driver Rating of 123.8, an Average Running Position of 4.165 and turned the fastest lap 14 times. Additionally, of the 200 laps run last year, Busch spent 194 of them in the Top 15.

Look for Casey Mears (No. 24 National Guard Chevrolet) to also continue his 2007 NASCAR Busch Series success. In his eight races this year, Mears has scored seven top 10s and four top fives. If his past history at the 1.5-mile track continues, he should improve on this year’s average finish of 9.9.

Mears finished fourth in this race last year and led 12 laps in the fall race before an accident on Lap 198 took him out of a probable win.

Of drivers competing this weekend, Mears has the second-best Driver Rating (111.4), the second-best Average Running Position (6.747), the second-most Fastest Laps Run (51) and the second-fastest Green Flag Speed.

Then there’s the standings leader, Edwards, who won this race last year and led a race-high 123 laps in the fall before the accident on Lap 198 that claimed three drivers going for the win. He has the eighth-best Average Running Position (12.632), the eighth-best Driver Rating (97.7) and has 64 Fastest Laps Run, more than any other driver racing this weekend.

Of the series regulars, Todd Kluever (No. 26 Dish Network Ford) could shine Saturday night. He has an impressive Driver Rating of 87.3 in two races at LMS and his Average Running Position of 12.449 is seventh-best. Kluever also has 50 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the Top 15 under green), which is tied for eighth-most at LMS.

NBS ETC.

* Former Champ Returns: David Green (No. 91 YRT2.Net Toyota) is set to make his return to the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend while assisting the new Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports team with its start-up. Green, the 1994 champion, hasn’t driven since leaving Brewco Motorsports last September. He joined the Riley-D’Hondt organization soon thereafter and has been awaiting his return. The native of Owensboro, Ky., turned his first laps in the No. 91 Toyota at last week’s test session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Toyota will be the fourth manufacturer Green has competed for during his 17-year career and he’s won in the previous three (Chevrolet, Pontiac and Ford). In his new position, Green will help another new face, Bobby Santos, who will serve as his teammate via the Bill Davis Racing driver development program. He also stayed busy since last fall in assisting Hendrick Motorsports in its Car of Tomorrow success, serving as a test driver for the team. He also spotted for good friend and former series champion Brian Vickers in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, as well as for Stephen Leicht (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford) in the NASCAR Busch Series.

* Cameo Appearances: Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet), the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, is entered in Saturday night’s field. The event is the first Johnson will attempt in the series this year and his first since last fall at LMS where he finished 42nd due to an early accident. Johnson competed in two full-time NASCAR Busch Series seasons in 200-01 and has one win and two poles. He holds the qualifying record at LMS (187.735 in 2005). Bill Elliott (No. 32 Seymour of Sycamore Toyota) also is entered and will attempt to make his first series start since 2005.

* Memorial Day Tributes: Four cars will carry paint schemes as part of the American Heroes Memorial Day Salute to the Armed Forces, kicking off a nationwide effort to raise funds for military families in need. Shane Huffman (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet), Johnny Sauter (No. 28 U.S. Border Patrol Chevrolet) and the Roush Fenway duo of Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M/Coast Guard Ford) and Casey Mears (No. 24 National Guard Ford) are carrying the special schemes in the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend. Biffle is the top threat among the group with two wins, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 12 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

The Director’s Take: LMS


WHAT TO WATCH FOR AT LMS: THOUGHTS FROM JOE BALASH, NASCAR BUSCH SERIES DIRECTOR

“Teams will look to get their cars set up so as to get all the mechanical grip that they can at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

“Based upon the resurfacing of the track, the tire compound is harder. That makes grip very important.

“Pit strategy for track position is also really important at LMS. Teams that find it difficult to pass on the racetrack can make up valuable positions with good pit strategy and great teamwork during those crucial stops.

“The test last week was a huge help specific to this event. Teams that were on top of the leader board during the two days of testing should, in turn, fare well during the event.”

Rookie Spotlight: Krisiloff Makes A Quiet Charge

* Krisiloff Becoming A Player: Kyle Krisiloff (No. 14 Clabber Girl Ford) heads to Charlotte only 10 points behind Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingsford Ford) in the Raybestos Rookie standings. Krisiloff, who ran his first three series races in 2005 as a developmental driver for Hendrick Motorsports, found a home with the new Haas-Carter entry this season and plans to compete full-time in 2007. The native of Carmel, Ind., posted his career-best finish (fifth) at Talladega Superspeedway last month. He has six other top-20 finishes this season.

* Ragan Continues Hold On Lead: David Ragan (No. 6 Discount Tire Ford) remains in first place in the standings, two points in front of Juan Pablo Montroya. Ambrose, who held the lead after Talladega, has had tough luck lately, posting finishes of 26th or worse in three of his last four races. Those results also have cost him a top-10 spot in the standings, where he had been for nine consecutive weeks before falling to his current 11th-place ranking after Richmond.

* Rookie Success At LMS: Kyle Busch (No. 5 Sta Green-Lowe’s Chevrolet) won this race during his rookie season in 2004 and in the process re-captured the standings lead. He had become the first rookie in series history to lead the standings two weeks before.

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Re: Carquest Auto Parts 300 News and Notes

Driver to win the Carquest Auto Parts 300 

Matt Kenseth      +525     
Carl Edwards      +550     
Jimmie Johnson  +585     
Jeff Burton         +685     
Kurt Busch         +715     
Kevin Harvick     +750     
Kyle Busch         +750     
Clint Bowyer      +925     
Denny Hamlin     +1415     
Kasey Kahne      +1685     
Casey Mears      +2000     
Greg Biffle         +2000     
Reed Sorrenson +3125     
Juan Montoya     +3850     
Jamie McMurray +4425     
Bobby Labonte   +4425     
David Reutimann+6000     
Jason Leffler      +6000     

@TheGreek

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NASCAR-Busch-Carquest Auto Parts 300 Lineup
May 26, 2007


1. (17) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 179.462 mph.

2. (21) Scott Wimmer, Chevrolet, 179.289.

3. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 178.630.

4. (29) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 178.530.

5. (12) Kurt Busch, Dodge, 178.453.

6. (4) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 178.183.

7. (6) David Ragan, Ford, 178.177.

8. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 177.772.

9. (2) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 177.708.

10. (60) Carl Edwards, Ford, 177.667.

11. (20) Denny Hamlin, Chevrolet, 177.667.

12. (90) Stephen Leicht, Ford, 177.032.

13. (26) Todd Kluever, Ford, 177.020.

14. (25) David Gilliland, Ford, 176.980.

15. (37) Jamie McMurray, Ford, 176.893.

16. (5) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 176.806.

17. (59) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 176.569.

18. (55) Robby Gordon, Ford, 176.419.

19. (30) Stanton Barrett, Chevrolet, 176.384.

20. (22) David Stremme, Dodge, 176.217.

21. (44) Mike Bliss, Dodge, 176.091.

22. (24) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 175.884.

23. (88) Shane Huffman, Chevrolet, 175.804.

24. (99) David Reutimann, Toyota, 175.713.

25. (33) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 175.644.

26. (7) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 175.581.

27. (10) Dave Blaney, Toyota, 175.479.

28. (38) Jason Leffler, Toyota, 175.268.

29. (1) J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet, 175.251.

30. (41) Reed Sorenson, Dodge, 175.211.

31. (66) Steve Wallace, Dodge, 174.701.

32. (9) Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 174.481.

33. (77) Bobby Labonte, Chevrolet, 174.210.

34. (23) Brad Keselowski, Chevrolet, 174.036.

35. (47) Jon Wood, Ford, 173.539.

36. (14) Kyle Krisiloff, Ford, 173.388.

37. (42) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dodge, 173.199.

38. (18) Aric Almirola, Chevrolet, 173.188.

39. (35) Bobby Hamilton Jr., Ford, 173.033.

40. (27) Ward Burton, Ford, owner points.

41. (28) Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, owner points.

42. (36) Brent Sherman, Chevrolet, owner points.

43. (91) David Green, Toyota, past champion.

43. (91) David Green, Toyota, past champion.

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Kahne finds way to Victory Lane
May 26th, 2007

Concord, NC (Sports Network) - Kasey Kahne captured the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at the Lowe's Motor Speedway for his first win of 2007 in either the Busch or Nextel Cup Series. The No.9 Evernham Dodge crossed the finish line 2.414 seconds ahead of Casey Mears.

The victory was the sixth of Kahne's Busch career.

Nextel Cup veteran Matt Kenseth brought the field to the green flag and continued on for 28 laps before dropping to fourth after the first pit stop. But it didn't take him long to show his Ford worked well in traffic as well as out front.

By lap 33 Kenseth was in second less than half-a-second behind Kurt Busch and on the next lap took the top spot back for himself. The 2003 Nextel Cup champion built the lead to more than one second at lap 38.

But Busch wouldn't go away and fought back again Kenseth closing to his rear bumper in just five laps. Very quickly Busch got by Kenseth as did Denny Hamlin. Busch scrapped the wall just after that and Hamlin and Kenseth both caught him. Busch fought him off and moved out but on lap 57 he hit the wall again.

Busch pitted, but a missed lug nut, dropped him one lap down and out of contention.

At the mid-point, Johnson led Kenseth by four seconds, but the field was jumbled at that point due to green-flag pit stops. He was still the leader when series points leader Carl Edwards suffered a tire failure on lap 111 which sent him spinning. Fortunately, he didn't hit anything (neither walls nor drivers) and he survived to limp to pit lane for new rubber.

Johnson's pit crew had to repair some fender damage and six cars beat him off pit lane headed by Kyle Busch. Jeff Burton got the best of Busch on the restart and down the backstretch he took his first lead of the night. Kenseth also got past Busch and went after Burton.

Burton and Kenseth were the two fastest cars on the track and built a two- second margin over Busch and four seconds on fourth-place Clint Bowyer.

With clean air and new tires, Burton exploded on the restart quickly building a one-second lead. The margin was 1.616-second at lap 140 with Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Kenseth trying to keep pace.

Then Johnson did three 360-degree spins down the backstretch on lap 142 but somehow kept in off the walls. The spin still brought out the fifth caution flag of the night.

Burton pitted along with Kyle Busch and Kenseth giving the lead over to Biffle, Mears and Kahne. Burton came out 10th with Busch and Kenseth just behind.

Biffle had the lead, but he hadn't pitted since lap 130. Could he reach the checkered flag on fuel?

We won't know the answer because one lap later Biffle had a tire go down and he was force to pit. Kahne flew around both Mears and Biffle for the lead.

Kahne and Mears were more than three seconds ahead of Bowyer as the field cracked the 160-lap mark. Meanwhile, Kenseth was on the move and up to fourth place, but nearly five second behind the two leaders. Burton was also coning quickly.

Thirty laps to go and it was still a two-man race. Mears got slowed by a lapped car and Kahne built a lead of almost one second on lap 174. Twenty laps remaining and Kahne's lead was 1.283 seconds

Then disaster for Kahne. The No.14 Ford of Kyle Krisiloff slammed the wall to bring out a caution flag and suddenly his big lead was erased. During the caution Kahne radioed to his pit crew that he had "no rear brakes."

When the green flag dropped it would be a 11-lap shootout and Kahne didn't seem to care about the rear brake problem. He pulled out to six-length lead. Eight laps to go and the margin was 10 lengths. Six laps and the lead was now a huge 1.7 seconds.

If the car would just hold together for a few more laps...It did and Kahne won for the first time in 2007.

Edwards finished 17th, one lap down and will take a 423-point lead into next week's Busch race at the Dover International Speedway.

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