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Nationwide Series News & Notes - Milwaukee

  • One-Day Show In Milwaukee Packed With Possibilities
  • 400 Hitter: Kenny Wallace To Join Exclusive Start Club
  • In The Loop: Saturday Night Might Be All Right For Leffler
  • Double-Duty Drivers Abound At Milwaukee Mile

    Going The Extra Mile: Series-Only Regulars Seek Third Straight Win

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla (June 17, 2008) - The first step was taken by Scott Wimmer (No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet) in March at Nashville Superspeedway when he became the first NASCAR Nationwide Series-only regular to win in 2007.

    Next, Brad Keselowski (No. 88 NAVY Chevrolet) took the regulars back up front with his first career series win two weeks ago, again at Nashville.

    Last week, Joey Logano (No. 20 GameStop Toyota) brought the group again to the fore with his historic win from the pole at Kentucky Speedway. Logano, at 18 years, 21 days, became the youngest winner in series history surpassing Casey Atwood’s (18 years, 10 months, 9 days) 1999 victory at The Milwaukee Mile.

    All three drivers are entered at Milwaukee and can be considered a strong contender for a third consecutive win by a series-only regular Saturday night, even with the presence of four double-duty drivers, including standings leader Clint Bowyer (No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet) and reigning series champion Carl Edwards (No 60 Save-A-Lot Ford).

    Keselowski has moved up to second in the rankings, the highest a series-only regular has stood since 2005 when Martin Truex Jr. trailed leader Reed Sorenson by 36 points.

    “We have to keep working to get things better because there are a couple of them (competitors) out there who are coming on strong,” Bowyer said.

    To Bowyer’s point, five series-only regulars are ranked in the top 10 standings this week.

    “We have to keep working to get things better because there are a couple of them (competitors) out there who are coming on strong,” Bowyer said.

    “Herman’s” Big Night: Kenny Wallace Set For 400th Series Start
    Kenny Wallace (No. 28 U.S. Border Patrol Chevrolet) will become a member of an exclusive club Saturday night at Milwaukee when he becomes just the third driver in NASCAR Nationwide Series history to accumulate 400 starts.

    He’ll join Jason Keller (No. 11 America’s Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet—438 and counting) and Tommy Houston (417).

    Keller’s last win came at Milwaukee in 2003.

    The start will also mark the 753rd of Wallace’s NASCAR national series career.

    Wallace’s older brother Rusty ran at Milwaukee and won two USAC Stock Car races at The Mile by 1980 with Kenny on the crew. As a payback, Rusty fielded an ASA car in 1986 for Kenny, which led to Kenny’s NASCAR career.

    “I started my career at the Milwaukee Fairgrounds back in 1986,” he said. “It feels like just yesterday I was driving ASA cars against some of the greatest drivers like Joe Shear and Dick Trickle. My career really has come full circle at Milwaukee.

    “My wife’s (Kim) family lives about five miles from the track. Milwaukee is also close to St. Louis, so it all hits close to home for me.”

    Ambrose Embarks On Career First Double Duty Trek
    Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 STP Ford) has a big—and busy—weekend ahead.

    After posting a sixth-place finish at Kentucky last Saturday, he will join four other drivers in a Milwaukee-Infineon Raceway double-duty capacity this weekend.

    But unlike the others, Ambrose’s will be a first as he seeks his debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

    Ambrose has spent the week in Sonoma, Calif. and won’t venture to Milwaukee until race day. Robert Pressley will practice and qualify the No. 59 car for Ambrose, which will be of great comfort to the Australian.

    Pressley, a long-time driver for Ambrose’s JTG Racing team, served as a coach and mentor for Ambrose when he first made the switch from V-8 Supercars to NASCAR Craftsman Trucks and on to the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

    In 244 career NASCAR Nationwide Series races, Pressley registered 10 wins.

    Wimmer, Bires Seek “Mile”-Stone
    Last year the duo of Aric Almirola and Denny Hamlin broke a two-race winning streak at Milwaukee by Wisconsin drivers.

    Scott Wimmer (Wausau) and Kelly Bires (No. 47 Clorox Ford—Mauston) hope to rekindle the streak.

    Wimmer came close last year, finishing second; he was third in 2002. Bires, a teammate of Marcos Ambrose, was making his series track debut and finished 30th following a 14th-place start one year ago.

    Josh Wise (No. 22 Supercuts Dodge) was born in Janesville and two crew members are also Wisconsin natives. Jon Hansen, the car/truck chief on the No. 88 NAVY Chevrolet of Brad Keselowski is from Madison while Ethan Marquardt, the front tire carrier for Kenny Hendrick’s No. 31 Grandstay.net Chevrolet, is from Merrill.

    In The Loop: Leffler Could Produce Breakthrough At Milwaukee
    The NASCAR Nationwide Series has seen a big boost in competitive balance recently.

    There have been five different winners in the last five races, and the last two events have been won by NASCAR Nationwide Series-only regulars.

    It’s very possible that those numbers will grow this weekend in Milwaukee.

    Two drivers in particular have excellent statistics at the historic one-mile venue, and both call the series their only home – Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Toyota) and Brad Coleman No. 27 Scott Bath Tissue Ford).

    Leffler has finishes of fourth (2006) and third (2007) in his last two Milwaukee races, leading to some of the most impressive statistics in the series.

    Over those two races, Leffler has series-highs in Driver Rating (124.4) and Average Running Position (3.3) and has 46 Fastest Laps Run (third-most) and 504 Laps in the Top 15 (second).

    Coleman has only one career start at Milwaukee, but it was very good one. He started and finished fourth last season, and racked up impressive numbers in his Milwaukee Mile debut. He had a Driver Rating of 111.5, an Average Running Position of 4.4, four Fastest Laps Run and ran all 250 Laps in the Top 15.

    Probably the two biggest threats at Milwaukee to the series regulars are points leader Clint Bowyer and defending series champion Carl Edwards.

    Bowyer has an Average Running Position of 4.5 and a Driver Rating of 113.3, while Edwards has an Average Running Position of 11.1 and a Driver Rating of 102.4.

    Saturday Night Short-Track Racing From Milwaukee To Air On ESPN2
    The Milwaukee Mile is one of America’s legendary racetracks, and ESPN2’s season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series continues with a live, prime-time telecast Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown.

    The green flag flies at 8:45 p.m. and the telecast also airs in high definition on ESPN2 HD and will be simulcast on ESPN360.com and ESPN MobileTV.

    Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lead announcer for ESPN2’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will report from the pits, while two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN DISH Tech Center.

    Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown with analysis by Wallace and Brad Daugherty, a former winning team owner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, in the ESPN pit studio.

    Jason Leffler is scheduled to serve at In-Race Reporter.

    ESPN2 also airs coverage of qualifying on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

    The Director’s Take: Historic Mile Is A Track Of Transition
    The Milwaukee Mile bills itself as “America’s Legendary Oval,” and is the oldest active track in the world, dating back to 1903.

    “It’s only fitting that Kenny Wallace makes his 400th start here since this is a race track that’s got such a rich history,” said Joe Balash, NASCAR Nationwide Series director.

    History aside, Balash sees Saturday night’s race as one of transition.

    “It’s really going to be a test for the teams now that we’ve come off of a number of race tracks with good banking to Milwaukee, which is a wide, flat track,” he said.

    “It’s a track that races with multiple grooves so there will be a lot of passing. It’s so wide it gives the drivers a lot of places to race so that will be a big plus, especially for our fans.

    “We’ve got quite a few younger drivers in the race and the track may be of help to them if there’s a bobble; there’s more room on the track for correction.

    “Teams will be setting their suspension up to handle the bumps due to the transitions between older pavement and new pavement so they don’t upset the balance of the car.”

    The Milwaukee Mile
    Most Wins: Greg Biffle (2)
    Most Poles: Aric Almirola (2)
    Quick Fact: Because he started the event, Aric Almirola was awarded the win last year even though Denny Hamlin finished the race.

    NNS Etc.

  • Kenny Wallace’s 400th career series start is one of many exciting elements for the Wallace family this weekend.

    Mike Wallace (No. 7 GEICO Toyota), who comes off a third-place finish at Kentucky—his best finish since a runner-up at Gateway Raceway in 2005—will be racing at the same track with his daughter, Chrissy. She is entered in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event Friday night. Mike won at Milwaukee in 1994.

    Chrissy’s cousin Steve Wallace will drive the No. 66 Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race while Rusty Wallace will be in the ESPN2 booth for Saturday night’s event.

  • Three NASCAR Nationwide Series regulars will pull double duty in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Milwaukee Friday while one truck regular will do the same in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event.

    Colin Braun (No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford) and Landon Cassill (No. 5 National Guard Chevrolet) will join Mike Bliss (No. 1 Miccosukee Resort Chevrolet) — seventh in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings and the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion —in Friday’s race.

    Ted Musgrave (No. 91 Chevrolet) will turn around and run on Saturday night as well.

    Cassill will actually face triple duty as a dirt modified race in Vinton, Iowa is also on his schedule Sunday.

  • In addition to Robert Pressley for Marcos Ambrose, substitute drivers who are scheduled to practice and qualify this weekend include: Stephen Leicht for Clint Bowyer; Jason Hedlesky for Carl Edwards; Auggie Vidovich for David Ragan (No. 6 Discount Tire Ford) and 1995 NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion Mike Skinner for David Reutimann (No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota).

    Raybestos Rookie Of The Year
    Rank Driver Points
    1 Bryan Clauson 118
    2 Dario Franchitti 100
    3 Cale Gale 72
    4 Landon Cassill 70
    5 Chase Miller 60
    6 Brian Keselowski 56
    7 Patrick Carpentier 31
    Results following the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

    Bill France Performance Cup
    Chevrolet has the most wins at Milwaukee with nine, two in a row and three of the last four races. Dodge snapped that string with a victory in 2005. Ford has five wins at the track.

    The No. 20 of Joe Gibbs Racing won this race last year with Chevy as the manufacturer. JGR moved to Toyota this season and the No. 20 has won seven races, including last week’s historic win by Joey Logano.

    Up Next: Camping World RV Sales 200 at New Hampshire
    New Hampshire Motor Speedway hosts the Camping World RV Sales 200 next Saturday, June 28. The race will air on ABC.

    NHMS is one of four tracks in the NASCAR Nationwide Series that has yet to produce a repeat winner and its 21-race streak is the longest such span in the series.

    Kevin Harvick won from the pole last year, only the second time in his career he’s accomplished the feat.

    Fast Facts
    The Race: Camping World RV Rental 250
    The Place: The Milwaukee Mile
    The Date: Saturday, June 21
    The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
    The Distance: 250 laps / 250 miles
    Track Size: 1-mile oval
    TV: ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET
    2007 Winner: Aric Almirola
    2007 Pole: Aric Almirola

    2008 Standings
    1 Clint Bowyer 2,336
    2 Brad Keselowksi 2,166
    3 David Reutimann 2,161
    4 Carl Edwards 2,111
    5 Kyle Busch 2,093
    6 David Ragan 2,041
    7 Mike Bliss 2,041
    8 Mike Wallace 1,944
    9 David Stremme 1,916
    10 Jason Leffler 1,834

    Schedule (Times local–CT)
    Saturday–Practice 9-10:15 a.m.; Final Practice 10:45 a.m.-Noon; Qualifying, 4:35 p.m.

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