The Frontstretch: Race Trax: StonebridgeRacing.com 200 by Amy Henderson -- Thursday June 1, 2006

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Race Trax: StonebridgeRacing.com 200

Amy Henderson · Thursday June 1, 2006

 

On Track

The StonebridgeRacing.com 200 is the fourteenth race on the 35-race NASCAR Busch Series Schedule. The Busch Series will visit the 1-mile Dover International Speedway twice in 2006; they’ll return in September for another go-round. DIS has hosted the Busch Series each year since 1982, and Joe Ruttman was the first NBS winner at the track, while Todd Bodine leads active drivers in all-time wins with three. The track is a high-banked true oval track, with twenty-four degrees of banking through the turns. The straightaways are banked at nine degrees and are just over 1,000 feet in length. The field will include 2005 polesitter Carl Edwards, but not race winner Martin Truex, Jr.

43 teams will compete for 43 starting spots for Sunday, with the Top 30 in car owner points guaranteed a starting position. Qualifying runs consist of two laps, with the fastest lap setting a team’s time. The entry list includes fourteen full-time Nextel Cup drivers. The Busch Series qualifying record at DIS is 157.916mph, set by Busch Series regular David Green in 2004.

The points battle in the Busch Series is still a rather lopsided affair in favor of Kevin Harvick, who extended his lead by one point at Lowe’s to take a 348""point advantage over second-place Carl Edwards. The rest of the top five includes Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, and J.J. Yeley. The top Busch Series regular is Paul Menard, currently listed in eighth place.

What To Expect
Fans who tuned in to the Talladega race last month can expect the same type of nail-biting racing without the restrictor plates. Dover is a tight, narrow track, making it hard for drivers to avoid other cars’ wrecks. Single-car incidents are fairly rare, so the attrition rate can be high at the track they call the Monster Mile. The track’s concrete surface provides excellent grip, and track temperature should not play a factor…it’s a driver’s patience (or lack thereof) that will be the key to their own success.

Who to Watch
The Buschwhackers have run strong at DIS, but so have a couple of notable Busch Series regulars. Busch regular David Green owns the qualifying record and could factor in the final outcome. Fellow Busch-only drivers Jason Leffler and Kenny Wallace had respective third- and fourth-place runs at Dover last fall, so look for a strong race from both this week.

Of the Cup interlopers, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards look to be the strongest contenders. Biffle won at Dover in 2004, and Edwards took the pole last spring. Ryan Newman won both the pole and race last fall, and Kurt Busch will be driving for that same team this go-round. Little brother Kyle Busch has also run very well at DIS, so the race could be a real family affair.

Did You Know:

  • Only once has the spring race at Dover been won from the pole? Joe Nemechek captured both pole and race in 2003.

  • That, in 1999, only two drivers managed to lead the spring race (Dick Trickle and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.)? Dale, Jr. finally took the checkers in that one.
  • Despite having two wins and five poles at DIS, Harry Gant never won from the pole at the track.

You Don’t Say"¦
“Things happen really fast. There really isn’t a lot you can do (at Dover). But, you can usually tell when something is getting ready to happen in front of you. The real trouble spots are driving in too deep under someone getting in and washing up, getting a bad push or loose off the corners. The track is self cleaning with all the banking so, it’s hard to get out of the way if you are in the groove and it all starts coming down the hills.” Driver Kevin Harvick on why Dover is a tricky race track

“This weekend’s race at Dover is one I have had circled in red on my calendar. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the circuit, and one where I have found a good amount of success. I got my first Truck Series win here back in 2003 and was a contender for the win in my last two Busch races, finishing 3rd last fall and 4th in 2004. You need to get the car working coming off the corners so you can keep your momentum up on the straightaways. It’s a fun track to drive because there is more than one groove, meaning you can pass a lot easier than at some of the others places we go to." Driver Jason Leffler on DIS

"It’s like Bristol on steroids." Driver Paul Menard on whether Dover can be compared to Bristol Motor Speedway

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