Record number of Cup drivers enter Busch race

Published 5:38 am Wednesday, August 16, 2006

By Staff
BROOKLYN – A record number of drivers will enter both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup GFS Marketplace 400 and the NASCAR Busch Series Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. 21 regular drivers from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series are entered to compete in the Carfax 250, giving the 15th installment of the Busch Series at MIS a distinct elite flavor.
The 21 NEXTEL Cup drivers entered have a total of 75 career Busch Series starts at MIS with eight wins among them. Entrants from every NASCAR Busch Series race at MIS dating back to 1992 are represented in the Carfax 250.
The record contingent is led statistically by veteran Mark Martin, who has two victories in eight Busch Series starts on the two-mile oval, making him just one of three drivers in MIS Busch Series history to have taken two checkered flags. Martin will enter the Carfax 250 in the No. 6 Ameriquest Mortgage Ford.
Highlighting the list of Cup stars competing in the Carfax 250 are Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick. Earnhardt Jr. has made three Busch Series starts at MIS, including a win in 1999 that helped propel him to the NASCAR Busch Series championship. He will pilot the No. 8 Menards Chevrolet. Harvick, a winner in the NASCAR Busch Series at MIS in 2003, currently leads the Busch Series in points and has collected five wins and 20 top-10s in 24 Busch Series starts this season while holding on to third place in the NEXTEL Cup standings.
He will drive the No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet in the Carfax 250.
Also slated to compete is Carl Edwards, who will drive the No. 60 Henkel Ford. Edwards is currently in second place in the NASCAR Busch Series standings and has recorded seven top-10 finishes in seven starts at MIS across the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch, and Craftsman Truck Series. Edwards finished third in last season's Busch race at MIS.
NEXTEL Cup veterans Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth will join the field for the Carfax 250. Stewart will drive the No. 33 Old Spice Chevrolet, and Kenseth will be behind the wheel of the No. 17 Ameriquest Mortgage Ford.
Four-time MIS winner Greg Biffle will look to conquer the one NASCAR national series in which he has not won in the Irish Hills. The holder of two victories in both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on the two-mile oval, Biffle will pilot the No. 16 Ameriquest Mortgage Ford in the Carfax 250.
Kurt Busch will return to the Busch Series circuit after his thrilling victory at Watkins Glen last Saturday, the second of his 2006 Busch Series season. Busch will drive the No. 39 Penske Truck Rental Dodge and will look to add to his two victories and six top-10s in his seventh start of the season. His start will be the first of his Busch Series career at MIS.
Past MIS Busch Series winners Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's ShopVac Chevrolet), Michael Waltrip (No. 99 Cottman Transmissions Dodge), Jeff Burton (No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet), and Bobby Labonte (No. 66 Cub Cadet Ford) are slated to compete. Busch won at MIS in 2004, Waltrip won in 2002, and Labonte won in 1994. Burton's 1998 victory remains the only Busch Series win at MIS to come from a polesitter.
Other NEXTEL Cup regulars expected to compete include: Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), Scott Riggs (No. 9 Lawry's Dodge), J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/The Home Depot Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), Jeff Green (No. 36 Chevrolet), Casey Mears (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge), Brian Vickers (No. 57 Mountain Dew Chevrolet), and Robby Gordon (No. 88 NAVY Chevrolet).
Though NEXTEL Cup regulars have won 22 of the 24 NASCAR Busch Series races in 2006 and make up nearly half of the entry list for the Carfax 250, the Busch Series regulars will not step aside. Paul Menard, entered in the No. 11 Menards Chevrolet, is one of two Busch regulars to win in the Busch Series in 2006 and sits seventh in the point standings.
Johnny Sauter is currently ninth in Busch points and will enter the No. 00 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet.
Tickets to all remaining events during the 2006 MIS season delivered by Domino's Pizza, including the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 on Aug. 18, the NASCAR Busch Series Carfax 250 on Aug. 19, and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series GFS Marketplace 400 on Aug. 20, are currently on sale at, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.