NAPA Auto Parts 200 News and Notes

NAPA Auto Parts 200 News and Notes

NAPA Auto Parts 200 - Entry List

0 John Fitzpatrick Jr    
01 Joe Fox    
1 Max Papis    
6 David Ragan    
7 Mike Wallace    
9 Boris Said    
10 John Graham    
14 Kyle Krisiloff    
16 Todd Kluever    
17 Michel Jourdain    
18 Brad Coleman    
20 Aric Almirola    
21 Kevin Harvick    
22 Patrick Carpentier    
25 Richard Johns    
27 Jorge Goeters    
28 Niclas Jonsson    
29 Jeff Burton    
30 Stanton Barrett    
33 Ron Fellows    
35 Bobby Hamilton Jr    
36 Brent Sherman    
37 Greg Biffle    
38 Jason Leffler    
41 Scott Pruett    
42 Michael Valiante    
47 Andy Lally    
52 Scott Gaylord    
55 Robby Gordon    
59 Marcos Ambrose    
60 Carl Edwards    
63 Mike MacKenzie    
66 Steve Wallace    
71 Trevor Boys    
72 D.J. Kennington    
76 Jerick Johnson    
77 Ron Hornaday Jr    
88 Andy Pilgram    
89 Morgan Shepherd    
90 Stephen Leicht    
98 Alex Garcia    
99 David Reutimann

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NAPA Auto Parts 200 - Weekend Schedule

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2nd
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM NBS PRACTICE 1
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM     NBS PRACTICE 2

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3rd
10:30 AM NBS QUALIFYING ORDER DRAWING
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM NBS PRACTICE 3
2:05 PM - 3:25 PM NBS FINAL PRACTICE

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4th
12:10 PM NBS QUALIFYING (NASCAR, ROAD RACE QUALIFYING) IMPOUND
3:00 PM NBS DRIVER INTRODUCTIONS
3:30 PM NBS RACE (74 LAPS, 200.46 MILES)

If the entry list is correct the Buschwhackers are going to have a long weekend  ???

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NASCAR Heads North of the Border

NASCAR continues its expansion this weekend when the Busch Series makes its first-ever appearance in Canada for the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Saturday's race at the twisting 2.709-mile, 14 turns road circuit is another milestone for the Busch Series, which made its foray into Mexico three years ago.

"There are a great many NASCAR fans in Canada and we've been looking to bring our brand of racing to them for some time," said NASCAR CEO Brian France. "Having the Busch Series at such an historic track like Circuit Gillese Villeneuve is certainly a win for everyone and we're excited about the inaugural NAPA Auto Parts 200."

Montreal is the first new track the Busch Series will visit since its first trip to Mexico City in 2005. It will also mark the circuit's second road course race of the season and actually set up back-to-back road circuits with a trip to Watkins Glen International Raceway on tap the following week.

That means a number of road specialists will be in the mix over the next two races including Ron Fellows, who will also have the chance to drive in front of his home fans in Canada.

"I'm starting to get excited about the first Canadian appearance of NASCAR's Busch Series at Le Circuit Gilles Villeneuve," said fellows, who will pilot the No. 33 Camping World Chevy for Kevin Harvick Inc. "I haven't raced there since the late 1980's in the GM Series Camaro's, but it should be good fun."

Fellows won't be the only Canadian in the field, which will also include former Champ Car star Patrick Carpentier.

Honestly, I am thrilled to be racing in front of my fans," said Carpentier, who will also compete in Friday's Grand American Road Racing Series event. "It will be a very busy weekend with two races in two days, but I will definitely have fun. I have a very good car and the team is very competitive, so I will do everything I can to finish on the podium at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve."

Other road course "ringers" set for Saturday include Max Papis (No. 1 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet), Boris Said (No. 9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge), John Graham (No. 10 Braun Racing Toyota). Michel Jourdain (No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford), Patrick Carpentier (No. 22 Fitz Motorsports Dodge), Jorge Goeters (No. 27 Brewco Motorsports Ford), Niclas Jonsson (No. 28 Jay Robinson Racing Chevrolet), Scott Pruett (No. 41 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge), Michael Valiante (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge), Andy lally (No. 47 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford), Scott Gaylord (No. 52 Means Racing Ford), Mike MacKenzie (No. 63 Spraker Racing Chevrolet) and Andy Pilgrim (No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet).

Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 200 is slated for a 3 p.m. (ET) green flag and will be carried live by MRN and ESPN2.

www.racingone.com

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NASCAR BCS (MONTREAL) - SERIES NOTES

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 31, 2007) – The NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge at the historic Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course is the inaugural event for the NASCAR Busch Series in Canada and the second points race for the series on international soil. The series has competed in Mexico City since 2005 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

The purse for the race is $2,075,651, the third in excess of $2 million in the series this year and the eighth-richest race purse in series history.

There are seven double-duty drivers scheduled to compete this weekend in Montreal and also at Pocono Raceway. Reigning series champion Kevin Harvick (No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet) and current standings leader Carl Edwards (No. 60 Scotts Ford) will be joined by David Ragan (No. 6 Discount Tire Ford), Jeff Burton (No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet), 2002 series champion Greg Biffle No. 37 Yard Man Ford), Robby Gordon (No. 55 Camping World Ford) and David Reutimann (No. 99 NAPA Toyota).

Drivers representing eight countries are entered in the event, led by a 27-man contingent from the United States. Eight Canadians, including Montreal’s own Patrick Carpentier (No. 22 Zelars & Komatsu Dodge) – who will make his NASCAR debut – and veteran NASCAR road ace Ron Fellows (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet - Toronto) lead that group. NASCAR Busch Series regular Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingsford Ford) is from Australia. Michel Jourdain Jr. (No. 17 Dish Network Ford) who won at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Champ Car competition in 2003, and Jorge Goeters (No. 27 Cottonelle Ford), winner of the first Busch Pole at Mexico City, are from Mexico. Additionally, Italy will be represented by Max Papis (No. 1 Miccosukee Resorts Chevrolet); Sweden by Nic Johnssen (No. 28 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet); England by Andy Pilgrim (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) and Venezuela by Alex Garcia (No. 98 Dixien-Omni Source Chevrolet).

* Standings Leader Edwards Excited For His Shot In Montreal

Known for his penchant for adventure as well as his racing skills, NASCAR Busch Series standings leader Carl Edwards counts his visit to Montreal among his personal highlights.

Edwards, who was scheduled along with his crew chief, Canadian-born Pierre Kuettel and Montreal native Patrick Carpentier to participate in a press advance in the city on Wednesday, spoke about the race in a national teleconference on Tuesday.

“I'm excited about every weekend, but this one, to go to Canada, be part of such an historic event, such an historic city as Montréal, it's going to be really exciting,” he said.

“It's fun to get to race against different people. That's one of the beauties about going to Mexico City in the Busch Series, you get to race against so many different guys, local guys, from Mexico, Mexico City.

“I hope to meet a lot of new guys this weekend. It will be fun.”

* In The Loop: Said’s Numbers Solid Among NASCAR Busch Series Road Course Aces

Analyzing the unknown – like this Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series raced at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course – calls for a look at the similar.

The NASCAR Busch Series has raced on two road courses in the past – Watkins Glen in upstate New York and the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

Many of the same faces who have raced on those two tracks will also race Saturday in Montreal.

One of them is Boris Said (No. 9 Hellmans Dodge). Said has race in all five NASCAR Busch Series road course races since 2005, racking up a series-high 304 laps in the top 15. Said ranks in the top 15 in a number of road course Loop Data statistics. Always a threat on these types of layouts, Said has a NASCAR Busch Series road course Driver Rating of 101.5 (13th-best), an Average Running Position of 11.8 (13th-best) and 15 Fastest Laps Run (tied for sixth-most).

Another of the road course aces racing this Saturday is Scott Pruett (No. 41 Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit Dodge). He grabbed the pole in this year’s Mexico City race and finished fifth. In three NASCAR Busch Series road races since 2005, Pruett has a Driver Rating of 104.2 (12th-best), an Average Running Position of 10.0 (ninth-best), 194 Laps in the Top 15 (eighth-most) and 15 Fastest Laps Run (tied for sixth-most).

Standings leader Carl Edwards has been in all five road course races since 2005 with seen varied success. He’s finished in the top 10 in all three of his Mexico City races, but has ended the Watkins Glen races in 11th-place (‘05) and 27th-place (‘06). Overall, Edwards has a road course Driver Rating of 94.4, an Average Running Position of 12.8 and has spent 285 laps in the top 15, second only to Said.

In three NASCAR Busch Series road course races, 2006 champion Kevin Harvick has also performed well. He has a Driver Rating of 114.6 and an Average Running Position of 7.1.

* NBS Etc.

Subs on Standby: With the travel to and from Montreal to Pocono this weekend for the seven double-duty drivers entered in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge, substitute drivers are on standby to practice and perhaps qualify their cars. Auggie Vidovich is on call for David Ragan; Brandon Miller will sub for Kevin Harvick; Scott Wimmer will be on hand for Jeff Burton; Casey Atwood for Greg Biffle; John Andretti for Carl Edwards and Mark Green for David Reutimann. A substitute had yet to be announced for Robby Gordon. o Scare for Steve Wallace: Steve Wallace (No. 66 Homelife Communities Dodge) received a scare Sunday night in Indianapolis when he was attacked during an attempted mugging. The 19-year-old suffered minor cuts and abrasions in the melee which took place at a convenience store. Wallace was in town for the Brickyard 400 after competing in the Kroger 200 NASCAR Busch Series race the night before. Several men jumped Wallace and attempted to rob him of his watch; one of the suspects was in custody as of Sunday night. Wallace is okay after the incident and plans to race this weekend in Montreal. o NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Precedes NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge: The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will also compete at Circuit Gilles Villeneueve on Saturday. The 23-lap event is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. D.J. Kennington and J.R. Fitzpatrick Jr. are scheduled to compete in that event, then move on to their NASCAR Busch Series rides later in the afternoon. The series, like its counterpart the NASCAR Mexico Corona Series in Mexico, offers new opportunities for Canada’s top teams and drivers to showcase their talents in the NASCAR system. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series features cars similar to those used in the former CASCAR Super Series and operates throughout Canada with a schedule that runs from May through October. o NAPA Auto Parts 200 Media Information: A special website is available for media who plan to cover the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The site is also accessible via www.NASCARMedia.com links on the Home Page and the NASCAR Busch Series page. Log on to www.nbs-international.com (user name: canada; Password: nascar – both lower case) for current information on press conferences and events, hotels, credential information, transportation, contacts, etc.

* The Director’s Take: Montreal

INSIGHT FROM JOE BALASH, NASCAR BUSCH SERIES DIRECTOR

“Montreal will be a very technical course for the drivers’ style and for the race car itself.

“The track data that was distributed to the teams via Terry Labonte’s test gives them a track map, which includes breaking data, shock travel, engine RPM – all the elements necessary to have the car set up to start their baseline when they get to the test session on Thursday.

“Any time we go to a new venue, it’s important for the teams to get as much information as possible during the practice sessions to compile good notes for decision-making during the race.

“In the early part of practice, drivers will use that data to find marks for breaking and acceleration. Teams will also try to get as much track time on the practice day during the same time period that the race will actually take place.

“Choosing the correct location to start braking in the turns and getting back on the gas will be very critical for maintaining position on the track.

“Drivers will have to judge how much or their brakes to use during the early stages of the race so they will have enough braking capacity in the closing laps.”

* Everyone’s A Rookie This Weekend In Montreal

• Plenty Rookie Stripes: Since the race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is an inaugural event for the NASCAR Busch Series, all drivers will be rookies until taking their first practice laps during two sessions on Thursday. NASCAR Busch Series Director Joe Balash said there will be no set rookie practice session as there has been throughout the season as all drivers will have the two sessions on Thursday, prior to regular practice on Friday.

• Rookies Fared Well First Time Out: Three of the four Raybestos Rookies entered for the Montreal event had solid outings on their first road course test of the season in March at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Marcos Ambrose led the way with an eighth-place finish. David Ragan was 14th while Kyle Krisiloff (No. 14 Lilly/Walgreens Ford) was 16th. Brad Coleman (No. 18 Fed Ex Chevrolet) stumbled to a 38th-place finish – his worst of the season – but has been on a tear since with two top-fives and three top-10s among his nine races.

ESPN/ABC

The NASCAR Busch Series will make its inaugural visit to Montreal this weekend, racing at world-famous Circuit Gilles Villenueve on Saturday afternoon. ESPN2 will have live coverage of the race beginning at 3 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown.

The road racing circuit, named for one of Canada’s most famous racers of all time and the home of an annual Formula One race, will present a level playing field for NASCAR Busch Series drivers and teams as all will be racing on the track for the first time.

Allen Bestwick will anchor ESPN2’s coverage from Montreal, with analysis by two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie. Pit reporters will be Gary Gerould, Marty Smith and Vince Welch. Bestwick also will host NASCAR Countdown.

In addition to coverage of the race, ESPN2 will televise NASCAR Busch Series practice from Montreal at 2 p.m. Friday, and qualifying on Saturday at noon.

2007 At-A-Glance: Leaders After 22 Of 35 Races:

Traditional Statistics: Driver points – Edwards (3394) Victories – Edwards (4) Races led – Edwards (17) Laps led – Edwards (682) Top-five finishes – Edwards (13) Top-10 finishes – Edwards (17) Owner points – Roush (No. 60) - (3394) Money Won – Edwards ($864,810) Miles led – Ky. Busch (1015.53) Busch Poles – Hamlin (4) Closing in on Top 10 – Ambrose10th (2115 pts): Yeley (-34); Biffle (-44) Consecutive Weeks in Top 10 – Blaney, Edwards, Harvick (22)

Loop Data Statistics: Driver Rating – Edwards (114.9) Average Running Position – Edwards (7.1) Fastest Laps Run – Edwards (451 fastest laps) Quality Passes – Edwards (818) Laps In Top 15 – Edwards (3,753 of a possible 4,166)

* First Win Enables Toyota To Gain Ground

Toyota’s first win in NASCAR Busch Series competition last week at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis was not only arguably one of the greatest races in series history but the outcome also put Toyota within the grasp of third place in the Bill France Performance Cup standings.

Jason Leffler’s (No. 38 Great Clips Toyota) victory at ORP gives Toyota – just two points behind third-place Dodge in the standings – momentum, but a level playing field as the series heads to Montreal for Saturday’s race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The inaugural event will be a first for each of the four manufacturers.

Dodge won earlier this year at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez with Juan Pablo Montoya and has won the last two – and most recent – races at Watkins Glen, while Chevrolet claimed the first two races in Mexico City, so a baseline for victory on road courses has been set over the last two seasons.

Second-place Ford has one NASCAR Busch Series road course win on current courses; Bill Elliott won at the Glen in 1993.

Manufacturers' Championship 2007 Point Standings

Chevy 161 Ford 137 Dodge 94 Toyota 92

* Up Next: Zippo 200 At Watkins Glenn International

The NASCAR Busch Series competes on its second straight road course next Saturday, August 11, at Watkins Glen International.

The Zippo 200 will be televised on ESPN2 beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

The race was revived in 2005 after a three-year hiatus and Dodge drivers have had the upper hand over the past two seasons. Ryan Newman won in 2005 while Kurt Busch went to Victory Lane last season.

Terry Labonte, who turned the first NASCAR laps at Circuit Gilles Villeneueve June 12 during a test session, is the all-time leader in wins at The Glen with four. Canadian Ron Fellows is next with three victories; Labonte and Fellows share the all-time Busch Pole lead with two each.

FAST FACTS

The Race: NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge The Place: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve The Date: Aug. 4, 20071 The Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET) TV: ESPN2, 3:00 p.m. (ET) Track Layout: 2.709-mile road course Race Purse: $2,075,651 2006 Winner: Inaugural Event 2006 Pole: Inaugural Event

2007 Point Standings

No. Driver Points 1 Edwards 3394 2 Reutimann 2542 3 Leffler 2447 4 Ragan 2380 5 Harvick 2358 6 Hamilton Jr. 2307 7 Blaney 2252 8 Leicht 2185 9 M Wallace 2158 10 Ambrose 2115

Schedule: Thurs., 9:00 a.m.– Noon; 1:30–4:00 p.m. – Practice. Fri., 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.– Practice; 2:05 –3:25 p.m. – Final Practice. Sat. 12:10 p.m. – Qualifying (Impound).

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Road Race Aces Set for Montreal
racingone.com

Scott Pruett and Boris Said headline a list of road course specialists looking to make history Saturday with a win in the Busch Series' first-ever visit to Canada.

The pair of road racing aces will tackle a roster of Busch regulars as well as other road course ringers in Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 200 at the famed Circuit Gilles Vileneuve.

Both are looking forward to racing at the track which has hosted various forms of competition, but never stock cars.

"I'm really looking forward to this first Busch race in Canada," who will pilot an entry from the Evernham Motorsports stable. "The Ultimate Chargers team had a great performance at Mexico City earlier this year when we took the Hellmann's Dodge to a third place finish."

Said knows it will be a learning process for many inthe field, who have never seen let alone run at the Montreal venue.

"This is a track that many of the drivers are going to be seeing for the first time so it's tough to predict who's going to have a strong run," he said. "But with the level of cars we're capable of bringing to the track, I think we will do just fine. Every time I pair up with Evernham Motorsports we seem to get closer and closer to the goal of getting our first road course win and hopefully this weekend we'll be able to accomplish that."

Said is certainly one of the most accomplished road racers in NASCAR and has an impressive Busch Series track record on road circuits. Said has seven career road course starts in the Busch Series and has an average starting spot of 4.6, with an average finish of 14.1.

Pruett is no slouch behind the wheel of a stock car himself. With experience in open wheel and sports car racing, Pruett has stepped into NASCAR opportunities with stellar performances.

He'll pilot a car for team owner Chip Ganassi, ironically the same one "teammate" Juan Pablo Montoya drove to victory earlier this year in Mexico City, punting Pruett out of the way on his way to victory lane.

Pruett, who is the full-time driver of the No. 01 TELMEX Lexus-Riley with teammate Memo Rojas and will race in Friday's Grand American Road racing Series event at Montreal, will race the No. 41 Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Dodge in Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 200.

The NAPA Auto Parts 200 is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, August 4, and will broadcast live on ESPN2, MRN radio and Sirius Satellite Radio channel 128. Qualifying for the 74-lap competition is scheduled to start at 12:10 p.m. ET Saturday and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

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Odds to win the NAPA Auto Parts 200

Kevin Harvick +350     
Boris Said +425     
Scott Pruett +425     
Ron Fellows +500     
Robby Gordon +525     
Carl Edwards +1000     
Jeff Burton +1000     
Aric Amarola +1500     
Patrick Carpentier +1800     
Marcos Ambros +1800     
Greg Biffle +2500     
David Reutimann +2500     
Jason Leffler +2500     
Ron Hornaday +3000     
Field +600     

@TheGreek

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NASCAR roars into Canada for first time
August 3, 2007

Associated Press

MONTREAL -- Lightning flashed and the fans in the aluminum grandstands never flinched. NASCAR was finally in front of them, and it would take more than a storm to drive them away.

Stock cars roared into Canada this weekend for NASCAR's first foray north of the border, and early indications are this inaugural debut will be an unqualified success.

Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart aren't in the field for Saturday's Busch Series event. But NASCAR chairman Brian France doesn't believe his biggest stars are needed to sell stock cars in a nation where open-wheel racing dominates.

"I think Canadian fans are a pretty good judge of what is exciting racing and we think, when it's all said and done, we're going to be able to give them that," France said. "When they watch a Formula One race, lead changes are either nonexistent or nonimportant. We have a whole different philosophy that we are going to present."

This is NASCAR's second trip abroad with its second-tier Busch Series, which has raced in Mexico City since 2005 with impressive reviews. Fans there embraced the series, partly because of the contingent of Mexican drivers. In March, Juan Pablo Montoya became the race's first Latin American winner.

NASCAR is banking on a similar response in Montreal, where eight Canadians from five provinces are entered Saturday. Among them is Patrick Carpentier, an open-wheel star from Quebec.

"Once they give the start ... I think it's going to be 'Oh, my god,"' he said. "They're not used to it, but I think they're going to like it. It's pretty popular, and you're going to see all these people come and take a look at it. They want to see what the big show is."

Carpentier said the early crowds exceed what his former Champ Car Series drew to this venue, a claim backed by event organizer Stock Car Montreal. Ticket sales have not been released, but general manager Martin Spalding said hospitality suites are sold out and the last of the grandstand seats were snapped up Friday.

Only general admission lawn seats are still available. At $30 each, fans can bring a lawn chair, picnic basket and take a seat across from pit road that would give them access to the Busch race and a Canadian Tire Series support race.

"This can really be a marquee event for NASCAR," Spalding said. "It's a terrific city, with two cultures, a wonderful nightlife. It's safe, we have great food. The city is absolutely buzzing about this."

It doesn't appear NASCAR has done much to market the event, but famous Crescent St. has been closed during the evenings for a street festival with live music and stock cars on display.

But it all begs an answer as to what NASCAR is trying to accomplish in these brief stops on foreign soil. France is adamant that he has no plans to take his top-tier Nextel Cup Series out of the United States. His pressing desire is to expand into New York City and the Pacific Northwest.

And he doesn't envision turning the Busch Series into an international circuit, beyond Mexico and Montreal. Instead, this is about selling the NASCAR brand and tapping markets for long-term growth.

"In this day and age, no sports league can continue to grow without an incredible and increasingly international presence," said David Carter, executive director of USC's Sports Business Institute.

"Even though it's the Busch Series, its about starting moderately and taking incremental steps toward building the sport up internationally. The NBA has been in China. The NFL wants to be in China. If you aren't growing internationally, at some point you simply aren't growing. And NASCAR's potential for growth is simply dramatic."

Unlike the other leagues, NASCAR isn't interested in trotting its stars around the world even though France and his top executives made a recent visit to China.

The expansion model is based on slowly promoting the brand and aligning itself with existing racing series, said Steve O'Donnell, vice president of NASCAR's racing operations.

NASCAR did it in Mexico City by sanctioning the DeSafio Corona Series and now sanctions Canada's national tour.

"Maybe a young driver comes this weekend and decides to pursue stock cars," O'Donnell said. "If the Canadian Tire Series is a success, then maybe two, three, four years down the road, drivers who came through that tour will move into the Busch Series. Then maybe one day they are in the Cup Series."

France eventually would like to take the model into China, and maybe Europe. The first step is making NASCAR relevant to foreign countries through television exposure and sponsor interest. Aligning itself with a grass-roots touring series is next. And it's all aimed toward finding an international superstar for NASCAR, as the NBA has done with Yao Ming and baseball with its infusion of Japanese players.

"To establish this event in Montreal is all about a return on investment," Spalding said. "And for us, that's having the fans leave her on Saturday saying, 'Man, that was cool.' Lets prove there's a market for NASCAR in Canada and we'll go from there."

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Canadian Carpentier wins Busch pole in Montreal
August 4th, 2007

Montreal, Canada (Sports Network) - Local hero Patrick Carpentier captured the pole for Saturday afternoon's NAPA Auto Parts 200 at the Circuit Gilles Villenueve in Montreal, Canada. The No.22 Armando Fitz Dodge circled the 2.710-mile road course in one minute, 42.086 seconds (95.531 m.p.h.).

By comparision, when Formula One qualified at the track in June the winning time by two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso was 1:14.942 and when Champ Cars raced there in 2006 Sebastien Bourdais won the pole with a time of 1:20.005.

The pole victory was the first of Carpentier's Busch Series career in his first start.

"If I would have read in a book about a perfect race at a perfect time and perfect timing with NASCAR, it couldn't be better than this," said Carpentier.

Starting alongside the Canadian will be another fan favorite "Mad" Max Papis who posted a second-best time of 1:42.148 seconds.

Three-time Watkins Glen winner Ron Fellows (1:02.419) and Boris Said (1:02.424) will make up row two.

The top-four drivers could all be called "road-course specialists" and the first Busch Series regular is Marcos Ambrose, starting fifth.

Of course, points leader Carl Edwards, starting 15th, leads the usual NASCAR suspects across the border. He continues to dominate the series holding an 852-point lead after another top-five finish last week at O'Reilly Raceway Park. It was his 13th top-five (including four wins) in 22 starts.

Other Busch Series regulars who crossed the border include last week's winner Jason Leffler, David Ragan, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Stephen Leicht and Ambrose.

The race is scheduled to drop the green flag at 3:30 p.m. (et).

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Harvick wins wild one in Montreal
August 4th, 2007

Montreal, QC Canada (Sports Network) - Kevin Harvick captured Saturday afternoon's inaugural NAPA Auto Parts 200 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in wild fashion after Robby Gordon spun out the race leader. The No.21 Chevrolet crossed the finish line 0.330 seconds ahead of Canadian Patrick Carpentier.

The victory was Harvick's fourth of the season and 30th of his Busch Series career.

Carpentier brought the field to the green flag for a scheduled 74 laps for road-course racing. But on lap six Boris Said successfully moved around both Ron Fellows and Carpentier for the lead.

Many of the leaders made an early stop, but Carpentier stayed out, using a slightly different pit strategy. When everyone had cycled through, Scott Pruett owned the lead just ahead of Said. He did it with a quicker stop, but while Said had four new tires, Pruett got fuel only.

Marcos Ambrose was third, but not for long. He went around Said for second place on lap 21 and was less than one second behind Pruett. Ambrose closed onto Pruett's back bumper.

In the series championship, Carl Edwards came in to the pits on lap 25 and a mechanical problem sent him to the garage for repairs to the rear suspension.

Meanwhile, on lap 27 Ambrose finally got by Pruett as he appeared to let Ambrose go past.

After 30 laps it was Ambrose, who got his start in road-course racing in Australia, and four "road-course specialists" - Pruett, Fellows, Said and Carpentier. Not far behind them were "Mad" Max Papis and Gordon.

When Alex Garcia blew oil on the track on lap 32, it brought out the first caution flag of the race and sent many of the leaders to the pit, excluding Ambrose and Fellows, who stayed out.

Said and Pruett were part of the group that pitted and they returned in 12th and 13th-place, respectively. They both took four tires and it was likely that on the final stop of the day.

Shortly after the restart, Steven Wallace blew his engine and put down a lot of fluid on the track that took a while to clean up. The field passed the halfway point still under caution and it gave some teams a chance to gamble on reaching the checkered flag by stopping on lap 39.

Ambrose and Fellows came in, but needed fuel and tires, while the other leaders took fuel only. Carpentier and Said stayed out to inherit the lead. Harvick and Jeff Burton took fuel only and gained more than eight positions. Pruett restarted in ninth place and Ambrose from 12th. Ambrose punched the gas pedal on the restart and by lap 42 was around Pruett and into seventh place, just behind Harvick. If he could get around Harvick he would be the leader of those who stopped.

Ambrose got around Harvick on lap 43 and though he was sixth overall, he was the de facto leader of the race. As the race leaders peeled off to go to pit lane, Ambrose moved up the charts. He also held more than a one-second lead on Harvick and five seconds on Pruett.

Finally, on lap 48 all those in front of him pitted and Ambrose retook the race lead.

Twenty-five laps to go and Ambrose's lead was 1.731 seconds over Harvick. Harvick was beginning to push and both Pruett and Fellows got past him, but they were five seconds behind Ambrose.

Caution flag number three came out on lap 57 as Jorge Goeters hit the tire wall. The flag erased Ambrose's big lead, but also assured that Ambrose and the other leaders could reach the checkered flag without stopping.

The green flag dropped to restart the race on lap 60 and Ambrose took off. He was the fastest car on the track and his lead was 0.934 seconds with 10 laps remaining. Gordon got around both Fellows and Pruett for second place and then another caution flag, for oil on the track, slowed Ambrose's charge to his first career Busch Series win.

The race would come down to the rookie, Ambrose, and one of NASCAR's best off- road and road course racers, Gordon.

The race restarted with four laps to go and Ambrose got a great jump on Gordon. But Fellows and Pruett didn't make it through turn two and they spun around blocking the track and forcing a caution flag. Meanwhile, Ambrose had spun Gordon out after the caution flags were displayed

NASCAR determined that Gordon should restart in 14th place, but Gordon refused to move from behind Ambrose. NASCAR should have red-flagged the race at that point to force Gordon to move, but instead began the race with Gordon right behind the leader.

Gordon, of course, took out his frustration on Ambrose spinning him out in the second corner. Harvick inherited the lead and after holding off Carpentier was declared the winner.

Gordon continued to claimed he won the race, but Harvick was the actual winner as Gordon had been black-flagged and his final laps weren't counted by the scoring computer.

Carl Edwards finished 30th, but still maintains a stranglehold on the championship.

Next week will be another road-course event, this time at Watkins Glen International in New York.

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Re: NAPA Auto Parts 200 News and Notes

Busch Series Breakdown : NAPA Auto Parts 200

In A Nutshell: Challenging. Compelling. Controversial. Through a wild and wacky 75 laps, Canada’s inaugural race for NASCAR’s Busch Series clearly didn’t disappoint. In the end, it took the smoke of not one, but two burnouts to clear to figure out the actual race winner.

But in the end, all the action on the track couldn’t stop the momentum of another Nextel Cup familiar face – and Buschwhacker extraordinaire – pulling into Victory Lane for the fourth time this year.

Kevin Harvick benefited from a late-race crash he started – and then a late-race crash he watched unfold – to take the checkered flag in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 in Montreal. Running outside the Top 10 for much of the race, Harvick used the pit strategy of a fuel-only stop to put himself in position for a Top 5 finish. While running 4th on lap 71, Harvick dove to the inside to make a pass on Scott Pruett entering Turn 1 – and when Pruett cut off the move, Harvick responded by hitting him in the right rear quarterpanel. A multicar accident ensued, courtesy of Harvick’s front bumper, eliminating several contenders but leaving his No. 21 Chevrolet remarkably unscathed.

In the meantime, the No. 59 driven by Marcos Ambrose had his hands full with Robby Gordon’s No. 55 as the caution came out – and while battling for the lead, the two made contact, spinning Gordon. In the aftermath, NASCAR ruled Gordon would need to fall to 12th place for the restart, claiming he had fallen out of line by spinning under the yellow; however, Gordon ignored NASCAR’s directive, and began a green-white-checkered finish positioned directly behind Ambrose. That didn’t work well at all, of course – it didn’t take more than one turn for Gordon to spin Ambrose in retaliation – but was unexpected was that he actually didn’t get the lead back. Instead, Gordon found himself disqualified for failing to follow orders from NASCAR – and it was Harvick who got handed the top spot, forced to fend off late charges by Patrick Carpentier and Max Papis behind him to hold on for an “upset” win. Carpentier, the highest finishing Canadian, wound up short of the win by just a few car lengths, with Papis 3rd, Ron Fellows 4th, and Stephen Leicht 5th. After the late-race spin, Ambrose wound up 7th, while Gordon fell back to 18th after NASCAR stopped scoring him heading into the race’s final lap.

Who Should Have Won: Marcos Ambrose. The one man who seems to lose the most in this wild late-race melee was Ambrose. The Australian rookie that’s become both media darling and rising star in the Series, Ambrose seemed primed and ready to come home with his first race win, leading a race-high 37 laps. But after making accidental contact with Gordon as the field was showing the yellow flag – Ambrose simply drove it into the corner too hard entering turn 4, slamming into the No. 55’s rear bumper – everyone who knew anything about this sport knew that Ambrose was a sitting duck. Sure enough, it didn’t take but one corner for Gordon to pay back the favor – and Ambrose fell from a shot at the win to a less-than-satisfying 7th. At least Ambrose handled the post-race fallout with both dignity and class, exclaiming that in racing, you “can’t win ‘em all.” No doubt, though, this loss will sting for awhile yet.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend

1) Was Robby Gordon justified in his actions at the end of Saturday’s race? What happens to him now?


First off, Gordon’s refusal to fall in line correctly and subsequent penalties for failing to do so will likely result in a suspension from NASCAR officials – at press time, discussion was ongoing as to whether he would sit out the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono this Sunday.

As to whether the call was right – it could go either way. Ambrose’s spin of Gordon occurred after the yellow flag had waved for the other crash – so technically, the second Gordon started his car again, he should have been allowed to fall back in line. But I can see how NASCAR felt that until Gordon had his car pointed in the right direction, he was failing to maintain race speed and, thus, had to let all cars who passed him continue to stay ahead. Bottom line, though, whether you agree or disagree with NASCAR’s call, failing to adhere to the sanctioning body’s ruling is always going to get you in trouble; and the fact that Gordon stayed there merely to spin Ambrose out of revenge on the restart makes it even worse. Since Gordon may have had the fastest car on the track in the closing laps, it’s truly a shame; a little more patience and a lot more tact would have given him a solid finish. But in Gordon’s world, apparently it’s boom or bust…and he very clearly “busted” on Saturday.

2) Should Kevin Harvick have been penalized for his accident with Scott Pruett?

With all the fanfare surrounding the Robby Gordon incident, it’s easy to forget that Harvick started the accident with Pruett that caused this whole mess to begin with. And it wasn’t just an innocent tap, either; Harvick appeared to intentionally accelerate in the turn to hit the side of Pruett’s car and cause what was inevitably an eight-car wreck. With half the lead lap cars wiped out, it seemed like NASCAR should have done something to curb the overaggressive Harvick’s driving tactics – but instead, they got caught up disciplining Robby Gordon, and that kept Harvick in position to win. Ironically, Harvick’s on-track contact came just days after he chided Tony Stewart for not racing people clean – but just like Stewart, aggressive driving was just what it took to land Harvick in the winner’s circle.

3) How did the Canadian drivers fare?

With several Canadians making their first career Busch Series starts this weekend, hopes were high from the hometown crowd the trophy would stay north of the border. But while those drivers ultimately came up short of the win, a few of them still did a great job of gaining respect among the Busch regulars. Carpentier came so close to pulling the big upset – he wound up a few car lengths short in second, while fellow countryman Ron Fellows finished 4th to make it two Canadians in the Top 5. Others weren’t so lucky – John Graham finished a disappointing 23rd, three laps off the pace, while Michael Valiante, driving Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 42, lost a clutch just 24 laps into the race. D.J. Kennington and J. R. Fitzpatrick were just some of the other famous Canadians who failed to complete the race due to mechanical failure.

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:

* Harvick’s win marks his fourth victory in his sixteenth Busch Series start of ‘07 – keeping up his average pace of a win every four starts this season.

* Max Papis’ third place run in the No. 1 was his best career finish – and the first Top 5 for the James Finch Racing team this year (Finch owns both the No. 1 and No. 7, normally driven by J.J. Yeley and Mike Wallace).

* Kyle Krisiloff’s sixth place finish was his best since Talladega in April.

* After breaking a track mount, Carl Edwards spent ten laps in the garage for repairs and finished a disappointing 27th.

* In the point standings, Edwards’ lead took one of its biggest hits of the season due to his mechanical failure – but still remains all but insurmountable. The margin now stands at 787 between him and second-place David Reutimann; Harvick’s win brings him back up to third, but he remains 919 behind and is scheduled to run just a handful more races this season. Jason Leffler fell to fourth in the standings, while both Busch and Cup rookie David Ragan held his own to round out the Top 5 in the standings.

Busch Series regular Bobby Hamilton, Jr. held his ground in sixth place in the standings, with Stephen Leicht and Marcos Ambrose both moving up a spot to seventh and eighth. Dave Blaney, who didn’t race at Montreal, fell to ninth in points, and Mike Wallace finished 28th to round out the Top 10 in this week’s standings.

Buschwhacker Watch:

Buschwhackers in this race: 7
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 392 of 942
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10: 3
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10 YTD: 162 of 230
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 20 of 23
Buschwhackers ranked in Top 10 in Busch Series points standings: 5

Quotable:

“You always go back to your position, if you get spun out. And Marcos spun me under the caution, or whatever his name is. They originally told me to go back to second place, and I went back to second place. Then they said to go back to 13th place or 14th place or something like that. I was never running 13th or 14th, so I don’t know what to say…I completed the most laps, I was first car to complete them. We came here to win the race, and that’s what we did. If they’re going to say we finished two laps down, I guess we finished two laps down; they make the rules.” Robby Gordon, who finished 18th after the NASCAR penalty

“I knew that (Robby) was going to try and hit me. We were talking whether we should pull over and let him pass, but you know, I’ve got two laps to go and I’m trying to win the race. If somebody is going to take me out, they’re going to take me out. If they feel strong enough, they’re going to do it.

“I’m disappointed; I promised myself that I wouldn’t get mad. This is an opportunity for me over here. I’m thankful for what I’ve been given, and today is a bad day, but tomorrow we’ll look to next week. I’m pleased that I’m here and holding my own against some of America’s best.” Marcos Ambrose, who finished 7th

When asked to describe how hard it was not to be upset about the finish:

“I’ll be in therapy for about two years, I think.” Marcos Ambrose

Official Statement By NASCAR On The Finish Of The Race:

“Once the caution came out on Lap 72 the field was frozen. Once the field is frozen, all cars must maintain cautious pace in order to be scored.

“At the time that the field was frozen, the 59 was in the lead. The 55 did not maintain cautious pace and by NASCAR rule, cars not maintaining cautious pace are scored only when they blend back into the continuous line. The 55 based on our scoring was ordered to blend back in behind the 33 in front of the 7.

“The tower ordered the 55 multiple times to get in to position. The directive was acknowledged by the crew chief of the 55 and the crew chief also communicated the order to the driver of the 55. The driver ignored NASCAR’s directive.

“He was warned that he would be black flagged if he did not comply. Once the 55 crossed the start-finish line he was posted per the NASCAR rule book and at that time the directive to display the black flag was given.

“After contact with the 59 on Lap 73, NASCAR took emergency action per the rule book Section12-2 thus parking the 55, which was also ignored. The black flag with the white cross was displayed to the 55 when it crossed the start-finish line on lap 74. The 55 finished the race in the 18th position.” Ramsey Poston, NASCAR Communications

Next Up: For the first time in Busch Series history, the schedule includes two road course races back-to-back. No more jaunts up into Canada until next year, though; the series heads home to the States for the running of the Zippo 200 at the Glen. Held in the beautiful summer backcountry of Western New York, the race can be seen on ESPN2 at 3:00 P.M. on Saturday, August 11th, or heard on the radio courtesy your local MRN affiliate.

www.frontstretch.com

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