Tight Busch Points Race Hits Kentucky Speedway Saturday
The top-four drivers in the NASCAR Busch Series standings will be separated by only 96 points when 43-drivers take the green flag for "The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" this Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
Nineteen-year-old rookie Reed Sorenson leads the series standings for the first time this season following his sixth-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway on June 12. He will be challenged with maintaining his lead against a solid Busch Series field that features NEXTEL Cup regulars Rusty Wallace, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin and Jeff Green.
Edwards is slated to race the full NASCAR Busch Series season with Roush Racing while Biffle will drive select events for the Kentucky-based BREWCO Motorsports No. 66 team. Edwards led the Busch Series standings going into last week's race at Nashville Superspeedway but fell three positions to fourth when he was unable to compete in the rain-delayed race due to conflicts with his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule in Pocono, Pa.
He trails Sorenson by 96 points and looks to display top form this week at the track where he earned his first NASCAR victory in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2003.
"Coming to Kentucky is always awesome," Edwards said. "We roll in the gate and I think about how the first win I got in my NASCAR career was right here in the Craftsman Truck Series. It was such a special night for me. It validated all the work and effort that everyone put in over many years."
Biffle, encountered the same fate as Edwards in Nashville and also fell two positions in the standings. He begins the week ranked ninth and is 340 points off the lead after appearing in 12 of 14 events this season. He generated a Craftsman Truck Series victory at Kentucky Speedway in 2000 and also owns three second-place finishes in NASCAR Busch races at the facility.
"I'm thinking I hold the Kentucky Speedway record for second-place finishes," he said. "I won the inaugural race here in the trucks, but I want to win a Busch Series race here. I love coming because the track races two and three wide."
Along with his past success at the track, he also enjoys Kentucky-style racing because the track design and racing surface suit his aggressive driving style.
"Kentucky isn't the cookie cutter racetrack everyone talks about. It has flatter corners so you have to reduce your speed," Biffle said. "That makes for better side-by-side racing because we're not going off into the corner full throttle because the track has so much banking. There's a progressive bank as you come off Turn 4 and that's why you see so much side-by-side racing."
Defending series champion Martin Truex, Jr., owns the current series qualifying record of 181.102 mph at the track and trails Sorenson by 51 points. Truex, Jr., is part of a bevy of Busch Series young guns that includes third-place driver Clint Bowyer (-51), sixth-place driver Ashton Lewis, Jr. (-240), seventh-place driver Denny Hamlin (-240) and eighth-place driver David Stremme (-284).
Fifth-place driver Kenny Wallace (-156), who finished second last week at Nashville, is part of a contingent of veteran Busch Series regulars such as 1994 series champion David Green and Jason Keller, a two-time series championship runner-up who posted his sixth consecutive NASCAR Busch Series top-10 championship finish in 2004.
"It'll be a big week here. You're going to have Rusty, Greg Biffle, Michael Waltrip, Carl Edwards, and, of course, my team which has run real well this year," We have a great team and we're going to win some races this year. We have a couple second-place finishes, we almost won a couple weeks ago at Darlington (S.C.) and we're sixth in the points. We're going to go after a win like we do every week. Kentucky has been a real good racetrack for me, but I keep blowing motors here. I'm looking for a little redemption."
Fans can enjoy a full day of activity at the track on June 18. The NASCAR Busch Series will hold two practice sessions beginning Saturday at 10:00 a.m., country artist Travis Tritt will perform a two-hour concert beginning at 3:00 p.m. and Busch Series qualifying is set for 5:00 p.m. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and race Grand Marshal Ben Roethlisberger will give drivers the command to start engines and the green flag will drop for "The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" at 8:00 p.m.
The weekend begins Friday, June 17, with the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Southeast Series "Insight Communications 150" race at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets for "The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" and all Kentucky Speedway events including the one-night-only "Jammin' in the Bluegrass Presented by Meijer" concert with Tim McGraw, Trick Pony and Billy Dean are on sale now. Fans can reserve tickets by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223), online at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com and http://www.tickets.com, through Tickets.com outlets including Meijer stores and at Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., and the speedway Fan Center outside the track in Sparta, Ky. Visit the track Web site for the complete schedule.
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