Buschwackers invading Michigan International

Published 9:09 pm Friday, August 17, 2007

By Staff
BROOKLYN – The tradition of having half the NASCAR Busch Series field comprised of full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers at Michigan International Speedway will continue in Saturday's CARFAX 250.
A total of 22 drivers will attempt to qualify for both the CARFAX 250 Busch Series race and the 3M Performance 400 NEXTEL Cup race this weekend. Of the 22 which will attempt to pull "double duty," 18 have attempted to run a full-Cup schedule.
Cup drivers haven't only attempted to race in the Busch Series, they have also won, many times. Since the Busch Series' debut at MIS in 1992, eight of the 15 races have been won by a then full-time NEXTEL Cup Series driver (Mark Martin, '93 &'95; Bobby Labonte, '94; Jeff Burton, '98; Michael Waltrip, '02; Kevin Harvick, '03; Ryan Newman, '05; Dale Earnhardt Jr., '06).
The drivers attempting to race in both races this weekend include Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Ward Burton, Carl Edwards, David Gilliland, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Kevin Lepage, Mark Martin, Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, David Ragan, David Reutimann, Reed Sorenson, Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, and J.J. Yeley.
All five of Roush Fenway Racing's full-time NEXTEL Cup drivers will attempt both races, raising the question – does the extra track time make the team successful in the Cup Series? Roush Fenway Racing has a total of 10 Cup wins at MIS, four of which came in the August event, and in all four of those races the winner competed the previous day in the Busch Series.
Eleven of the "double duty" drivers have won at the two-mile oval in either an ARCA RE/MAX, Craftsman Truck, Busch, or NEXTEL Cup Series race, four of which have won a Busch Series race. Defending CARFAX 250 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not attempt to race on Saturday, allowing for the no back-to-back MIS Busch Series winner streak to continue.
Last year's CARFAX 250 marked the second time Earnhardt won at MIS in the Busch Series, his first came in 1999. Earnhardt, who is normally considered NASCAR's most popular driver, had fans booing and jeering when he exited his No. 8 Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet in Gatorade Victory Lane.
During a green-white-checkered scenario on lap 127 Carl Edwards was leading, with Robby Gordon in second and Earnhardt following closely in third. On the backstretch Earnhardt went to the high side of Gordon and ended up tagging Edwards in the back bumper, causing Edwards to spin and the caution that ensued allowed the race to end with Earnhardt at the front of the field.
During the final laps under caution, Edwards left pit road and ran into the side of Earnhardt's Chevrolet, later confronting Earnhardt in Gatorade Victory Lane.