Kroger 200 News and Notes

Kroger 200 News and Notes

Kroger 200 - Entry List

0 Eric McClure    
00 Danny Efland    
1 J.J. Yeley    
01 Shelby Howard    
05 Justin Ashburn    
6 David Ragan    
7 Mike Wallace    
9 TBA        
10 Dave Blaney    
14 Kyle Krisiloff    
16 Greg Biffle    
18 Brad Coleman    
20 Aric Almirola    
21 Tim McCreadie    
22 Mike Bliss    
24 Landon Cassill    
25 Richard Johns    
27 Jason Keller    
28 Robert Richardson    
29 Scott Wimmer    
30 Danny O'Quinn Jr    
33 Cale Gale    
35 Bobby Hamilton Jr    
36 Brent Sherman    
37 Bobby East    
38 Jason Leffler    
41 Scott Lagasse Jr    
42 Kevin Hamlin    
44 Mike Harmon    
47 Kelly Bires    
49 Derrike Cope    
52 Brad Teague    
56 Frank Kreyer    
59 Marcos Ambrose    
60 Carl Edwards    
66 Steve Wallace    
72 D.J. Kennington    
77 Ron Hornaday Jr    
88 Brad Keselowski    
89 Morgan Shepherd    
90 Stephen Leicht    
99 David Reutimann    
249 Brian Keselowski

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Re: Kroger 200 News and Notes

Driver to win the Busch Series Kroger 200

601     Carl Edwards    +200     
602     Scott Wimmer     +400     
603     Greg Biffle         +500     
604     Mike Bliss         +1000     
605     David Reutimann  +1000     
606     Jason Leffler       +1200     
607     Ron Hornaday    +1200     
608     Aric Amarola    +1200     
609     Dave Blaney         +1400     
610     JJ Yeley         +1800     
611     Stephen Leicht  +2500     
612     Jason Keller     +2500     
613     Marcos Ambrose  +3000     
614     David Ragan         +3000     
615     Landon Cassill    +4000     
616     Field         +600

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Re: Kroger 200 News and Notes

Almirola wins third pole of Busch season
July 28th, 2007

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Aric Almirola won his third Busch Series pole of the season at the O'Reilly Raceway Park. The No.20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet driver circled the 0.686-mile oval in 22.481 seconds (109.853 m.p.h.) to the pole win.

In his last pole win, at Milwaukee, Almirola was credited with the race win although he never visited Victory Lane as Denny Hamlin finished the race he started. This time, Almirola is scheduled to drive the whole race.

Finishing second fastest was Erik Darnell in Carl Edwards' No.60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. However, the driver change to Edwards, who was busy qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will force the team to start from the back of the field.

Ron Hornaday Jr., winner of last night's Craftsman Truck Series race at ORP, and Kelly Bires were third and fourth, respectively.

Kevin Harvick won last year's race, leading 117 of 200 laps, but the 2006 series champion is not on the entry list. Edwards finished 10th.

Edwards finished sixth last week and his lead ballooned to 852 points. He has crafted the lead by winning four times and putting his No.60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the top-10 16 times in 21 starts.

David Reutimann is the driver in second place, but was also at IMS and Mark Green qualified his car sixth quickest.

The race is set to drop the green flag tonight at 8 p.m. (et).

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Leffler's late charge leads to victory in Kroger 200 Busch race
July 28, 2007

CLERMONT, Ind. (AP) -Jason Leffler took the lead with two laps to go in the Kroger 200 and raced to his second NASCAR Busch Series victory on Saturday night.

Greg Biffle led in lap 191 before a caution brought the field together. Leffler took the lead in lap 197, then jockeyed with Biffle for a while before finishing strong at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

Leffler last won on June 12, 2004 in the Federated Auto Parts 300 in Nashville. Biffle hasn't won this season, and had only one top-five finish in 18 starts before Saturday's race.

Two racers who started at the back of the pack, David Reutimann and Carl Edwards, finished third and fourth, respectively. Reutimann started 40th out of 43 cars and Edwards started 41st.

Edwards, Reutimann, David Ragan, Scott Wimmer and J.J. Yeley started in the back of the field because qualifying for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard overlapped with qualifying for Saturday's Kroger race. Those drivers opted to focus on the Brickyard and have fill-ins get their cars qualified for the Kroger race.

Edwards' performance was impressive because he arrived in Indianapolis on Thursday wearing a protective brace around his dislocated right thumb. He was injured on July 22 at a dirt-track race when he hit the back of a car that spun out in front of him. Edwards plans to wear a similar brace during Sunday's race.

Last year's Kroger winner, Kevin Harvick, chose not to compete on Saturday. He had won three races this season and was third in the point standings.

Aric Almirola won the pole, his fourth in 23 career Busch Series races. He led for 87 of the 200 laps, all in the first half of the race.

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Busch Series Breakdown : Kroger 200

In a Nutshell: The tight confines of O’Reilly Raceway Park made for an exciting short track shootout for the Busch Series on Saturday night. Aric Almirola ran away with the race early, leading 87 of the first 100 laps, but as the second half of the race unfolded, it was another Busch regular who found his way to Victory Lane. After Almirola faded with problems on pit road, Jason Leffler was able to run down and pass Greg Biffle with three laps to go, bringing Toyota their first ever victory in the Busch Series. Up until the final stages, Biffle had dominated the race’s second half, but Leffler’s team decided to put on tires with 50 laps to go, and the fresh rubber ultimately paid off in a mad dash back to the front for the No. 38. Speaking of mad dashes, Biffle was the only Cup regular able to make it over from Indianapolis Motor Speedway for qualifying; the rest of the Buschwhackers had to come from the back of the pack, affording the fans a huge amount of on track passing throughout the entire event.

Who Should Have Won: Biffle. At one point, the No. 16 Ford was in another time zone, as the Biff led 94 of the final 98 laps. But when push came to shove, he simply ran out of tires at the finish, slipping just enough to give Leffler the opening he needed after a late caution. Aric Almirola was also a candidate here; he was the class of the field for the first half of the race, leading 94 laps. But inevitably, his crew cost him a chance at his first “standalone” win; major adjustments made during the caution at the race’s halfway point cost him four spots. Once he was back in traffic, he simply couldn’t get back to the front of the pack.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After The Race This Weekend:

1) Has any other Busch Series race had the same sponsor for 25 years?

Nope. Kroger Grocery Stores holds a special place in series history, remaining the title sponsor for the Busch Series race at O’Reilly Raceway Park since its initial running in 1982. A quick review of the schedule from 1995 showed only one sponsor other than Kroger that comes even close in terms of longevity (Food City Grocery Stores, which sponsors the second Busch race at Bristol). However, Food City hasn’t sponsored Bristol for 25 years; Kroger is, by far, the longest contiguous race sponsor in the Busch series.

2) Is Toyota going to use this momentum to win a Cup race before the season is over?

Toyota snagged their first win in the Busch Series in just their 22nd race, raising eyebrows with their early success. However, Saturday night’s win followed a handful of Top 5 and Top 10 finishes by several teams running in the Top 10 in points; that’s a direct contradiction to the Cup Series effort, which has struggled to be competitive much of the year. But Toyota has been making strides as of late, and any momentum gained by a Busch Series win certainly won’t hurt their cause. A win in the Cup series before the end of the year is still probably an unrealistic goal, but the possibility is certainly there considering how far they have come in Busch in such a short period of time.

*3) Why doesn’t the Busch Series run at the Brickyard?

The Busch Series race at O’Reilly Raceway Park was filled with tremendous short track action, and that race should always be on the schedule; but seeing the Busch cars on the big track of IMS would seem like a logical event as well. Originally, the Busch Series was not scheduled to be there because the Speedway said that there would only be two days of racing per year at the track. However, in recent years they have run other support series for the open wheel cars during May, as well as Formula One…so the precedent appears to have been broken. As we head into the future, it would be great to see the Busch Series cars run at the Brickyard just like their big brothers do.

Worth Noting / Points Shuffle:

Saturday night’s race featured 10 lead changes, a new record for the event at ORP.

Jason Leffler capped off a run of five Top 10 finishes in eight races by winning the first race ever for Toyota in the Busch series. He continues to be the highest Busch regular in the point standings, moving up to third place.

David Reutimann continues to shine in the Busch Series despite his Nextel Cup struggles; he finished third for the second week in a row.

Behind Reutimann, Carl Edwards came home fourth in the race, maintaining his point lead over the Toyota driver at 852 points. Leffler’s victory moved him up two positions behind them to third; however, he’s still 947 points back of the lead. David Ragan maintained his fourth place position in points, while Kevin Harvick did not compete and dropped two spots to fifth.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Bobby Hamilton, Jr. in sixth, followed by Dave Blaney, another driver who wound up not competing after sub Mike Bliss ran so well in practice that the team decided to keep him in the car. Stephen Leicht, Mike Wallace, and Marcos Ambrose finished out the Top 10 in points; all of them retained their same position from the previous week.

Buschwhacker Watch:

Buschwhackers in the race: 5
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 385 of 899
Buschwhackers finishing in the Top 10: 3
Buschwhackers finishing in the Top 10 YTD: 159 of 220
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 19 of 22
Buschwhackers ranked in the Top 10 in Busch Series points standings: 5

Quotable:

“I’ve always considered Indianapolis to be like my second home – I’ve spent a lot of time here and I have a lot of friends here. I just can’t say enough about our whole team at Braun Racing and what it means to us to get Toyota their first win in the Busch series. This is a team effort. These guys work hard and they play hard…I’m just really happy right now.” Jason Leffler

“Running the Busch series is fun. There is no pressure about points. You’re not running for a championship, you’re just there to win.” Greg Biffle

“I’ve just got to thank everybody at the Weather Channel and my guys, but Travis Kvapil, for sure. That was a fun race track. I wish we ran 500 laps around this place twice a month. This is about as good as it gets. Congratulations to Jason Leffler. We were just too loose. I had an awesome race thanks to Travis.” Carl Edwards

“It was pretty disappointing. We felt like we had a car that could’ve won. Starting in the back, you have to have a perfect night to get back to the front. After we got spun out there early on, it was an uphill battle all night. We couldn’t get gas in our car. We had to stop two extra times and lost a lot of track position. The car was beat up. It just wasn’t as good as it was earlier. Certainly, we felt like we could’ve finished in the Top 5 if everything worked out. Back there in the back, things happen and it could’ve been a lot worse, but it could’ve been a lot better.” David Ragan, who finished 18th

Next Up:

The Busch Series makes its first ever trip north of the border to run a race in Canada next week. The NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge will be run at Circuit Gilles Villenueve in Montreal. The race will be on Saturday, August 4th at 3:00 PM and can be seen and heard on ESPN2 and your local MRN affiliate.

www.frontstretch.com

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