12 November 2005
Press Snoop: Funny Fernandez.
Rookie CARL EDWARDS is on pole for Saturday afternoon's NASCAR Busch Series Arizona 200 Race at Phoenix International Raceway with a lap of 27.037/133.151 mph. This didn't break the record of 26.902/133.819 mph set by KYLE BUSCH last fall. This was Edwards' fourth pole in 35 Busch starts.
On the outside front row will be Rookie DENNY HAMLIN. Edwards said "I've got to hand it to Denny Hamlin. That was the hardest lap that I've driven in qualifying; that was wild. I can't believe that was the pole. It's slick out there, but it was fun. If anybody runs faster, they can have it."
Third through fifth are REGAN SMITH, current points leader and title contender MARTIN TRUEX and Rookie REED SORENSON.
Edwards is a slim four points ahead of Sorenson in the Raybestos Rookie Championship chase. Edwards is running his first full Cup season, but is ineligible for Rookie status as he had too many Cup starts last season.
Edwards said it hasn't been a problem racing full time in both Busch and the Nextel Cup Series, where he is leading the Rookie standings. "It doesn't make me more tired. It teaches me to pace myself. I sat up on the hill and watched the Truck race last night, and it was over, poof, just like that." Edwards plans to again run both Busch and Cup next season with Roush.
MARTIN TRUEX could secure a back to back Busch Championship this race, depending on how the race goes for closest rival, CLINT BOWYER, who starts thirty-second. The two have both topped the $1 million mark in earnings, first time this has happened to two Busch Rookies.
Truex is cleaning up in Busch this season. He won the most races-six; has earned the most money - $1,513,498; led the most laps and miles-705 laps and 999.63 miles; has the most top-five finishes-15; and led the most races-19.
Seven drivers in the Busch field are Double Duty Drivers. There are the usual Buschwhackers GREG BIFFLE, Edwards, KEVIN HARVICK MATT KENSETH, BOBBY LABONTE, KEVIN LEPAGE, JAMIE McMURRAY and JOHNNY SAUTER. The top Cup driver was Rookie Edwards. Labonte failed to make the field.
Racing Friday in the Craftsman Truck Series Chevy Silverado 150 Race were ERIN CROCKER, and runner-up RON HORNADAY Jr. Both are making their last Busch race for the season. Crocker starts thirteenth and Hornaday twelfth.
Besides Labonte, those not qualifying were CHARLIE BRADBERRY and ERIC McCLURE.
For the third time, Chevrolet has won the Manufacturers' Championship in all three NASCAR top tier series. This year it was Nextel Cup first with JEFF GORDON's win, Trucks with KYLE BUSCH'S victory and last week in Busch, it was Harvick who clinched it for the red bow tie. The other two Chevy sweep years were 1996 and 1998.
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