The Frontstretch: Race Trax: Telcel/Motorola 200 by Amy Henderson -- Thursday March 2, 2006

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Race Trax: Telcel/Motorola 200

Amy Henderson · Thursday March 2, 2006

 

On Track
The Telcel/Motorola 200 is the third race on the 35-race NASCAR Busch Series Schedule. The Busch Series will visit the 2.518-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez just once in 2006, the first of two road course races on the year. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is the only track on the Busch circuit outside the United States. 2006 marks the second season that the series returns to Mexico City. It is an 8-turn road course with a chicane on the frontstretch. The field will include 2005 polesitter, Mexican native Jorge Goeters, but defending winner Martin Truex, Jr. will not make the trip this year.

46 teams will compete for 43 starting spots for Sunday, with the Top 30 in car owner points guaranteed a starting position. NASCAR is implementing a new qualifying procedure under which cars will go out in groups of four or more cars, with each car’s best lap determining their qualifying time and starting position. NASCAR has not yet determined the length of time each group will have in which to make their attempts on Saturday.

What To Expect
Mexico is a beautiful backdrop for the first road race of the year, but the drivers won’t be looking at the scenery. This course produced some exciting racing last year, and that should not change the second time around. The course is demanding, and the fans are vocal. The chicane is difficult to navigate, and it is easy to miscalculate on some of the turns and end up un the adjacent grass. With road racing returning to the Busch Series last year after a few years’ hiatus, many drivers in the series do not have a lot of experience making right turns. So inexperience may play a factor in many teams’ day.

Also, there are several Mexican natives on the entry list, including Adrian Fernandez and three Goeters brothers, and many of them have more experience on this course than their American counterparts. The names may not be familiar at the start, but look for them to become much more so as the race goes on. Fewer Nextel Cup drivers will be on the roster, although Michael Waltrip and Jamie McMurray will attempt the race, and the seven “Cup” drivers attempting to race for both championships will be there as well.

Who to Watch
Adrian Fernandez. While Fernandez had mechanical trouble last year, he was among the best in the field. He’ll return in a Hendrick Motorsports car with sponsorship from Lowe’s, so he’ll have the equipment to go with his talent. Road course specialists Boris Said and Ron Fellows will also be in town looking for a win.

Kevin Harvick finished second and Carl Edwards third in this race one year ago, and appear to be a favorites again this time around. Kenny Wallace needs a strong run and is a good road racer, finishing eighth last year. NASCAR newcomer Paul Tracy has won at this track in a Champ Car, as well.

Did You Know:

  • Two sets of three brothers will be racing in Mexico City this year? Jorge, Patrick, and Eduardo Goeters, as well as Tim, Jay, and Johnny Sauter will be providing a little sibling rivalry.

  • Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is the thirteenth new track added to the Busch Series schedule since 1995?
  • That if Jason Keller finishes on the lead lap, it will be his ninth race in a row that he did so? That’s the top current streak in the Busch Series, extending back to Kansas last fall.

You Don’t Say"¦
“The track is unique – with the chicane down the long frontstretch and some very slow technical corners, leading back to a blind last corner, then to the frontstretch that’s surrounded on both sides of a sea of fans! The mechanical aspects of the car are really put to the test, and I’m totally concentrating on every lap, shifting, braking and staying on track.” -driver David Green on Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez

“I’ve always been interested in NASCAR. Unfortunately, I have had to admire it from a distance. I went to California Speedway this past weekend to attend my first NASCAR Busch race. It was unbelievable how many fans were there.” – road race specialist Marc Goossens, who will attempt to make his first NBS start on Sunday.

“Hopefully, being Adrian’s teammate, I’ll have a built-in fan base. I could do a lot worse than to be associated with the biggest sports star in the country.” – driver Kyle Busch on popularity by association

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