California's Auto Club Speedway
Headed West - Week Two California
Brian Vickers and the ABF U-Pack Toyota Camry did not compete this week. However, the #32 fielded this week by Kyle Busch, on loan from Joe Gibbs Racing, and the #38, fielded as always by Nationwide star Jason Leffler and carrying the major associate sponsorship of ABF, both took to the track for an unusual and prolonged race weekend.
This weekend's racing at California's Auto Club Speedway was pretty eventful, considering the event nearly didn't happen. Heavy rains severely limited practice time for all three NASCAR series, and led to the cancellation of qualifying for each series as well. This meant that the Craftsman Truck Series, Nationwide Series, and Sprint Cup Series would all line up based on last years points.
Making NASCAR history?
Kyle Busch entered this weekend with a unique opportunity. He could possibly leave California with the season points lead in all three national NASCAR series, a feat that has never been accomplished in the history of NASCAR. The weekend looked promising for him as well, as he was able to move through the Craftsman Truck field for an exciting win on Friday night, and his #32 Braun Racing entry was extremely fast in the only practice session for the Nationwide series, posting a lap of nearly 180 mph, faster than any of his competitors. Unfortunately, his quest for history would be delayed, as both the Stater Brother's 300 for the Nationwide series and the Auto Club 500 for the Cup series were ultimately postponed until Monday due to the persistent rains.
Top 5 finish
With no racing on Saturday, and only a few rain-interrupted laps for the Cup Series on Sunday, the drivers of the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series were relieved to see the skies finally clear up for Monday so that the Auto Club 500 could be completed, followed by the Stater Brother's 300. Due to this unique order, Busch was able to go out in his Joe Gibb's Racing Cup car first, and managed to bring home a top five finish, good enough to hand him the points lead in that series as well.
Mind on making history
Now, it all came down to the performance of the #32 team in the Nationwide Series. Kyle found himself 10 points behind Tony Stewart entering the race, and with an extremely fast racecar, his mind was on making history. However, due to the starting grid being set by the rule book due to the rain, he had to start a bit back in the field in the 14th position, with teammate Jason Leffler in the #38 a few rows ahead in the 8th starting spot. By lap 10, however, Busch had driven into the top 5, a location that he held most of the day, with Jason holding his own in 8th.
Fantastic weekend for Braun Racing
With fast pit stops and some outstanding driving efforts from both drivers, the #32 and #38 entries made themselves at home near the front of the field throughout the race, and as the laps wound down, and after flying through the field again with more moves than our favorite moving company, Kyle found himself in a battle for 2nd! He was able to prevail in that battle, and Jason was able to come home in a solid 11th in the #38, giving Braun Racing, ABF, and the rest of the sponsors a fantastic weekend. In addition, Kyle was able to add a tremendous amount to his point total. Unfortunately, the one driver he needed to pass in the points was the only driver he seemed to be unable to pass on the track as Tony Stewart took the win in an incredibly dominant showing, which helped him retain the points lead. Oh well, there's always next week Kyle. And speaking of next week, on to LAS VEGAS!
Vickers in 2008
For 2008, Vickers is slated to drive the ABF Camry in eight Nationwide Series races beginning with the 2008 season opener at Daytona. Vickers will pilot the #32 entry at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway Michigan International Speedway, California Speedway, and Kansas Speedway, and the #10 entry at Daytona International Speedway in February, Lowe's Motor Speedway in May, and Bristol Motor Speedway in August. Vickers will once again have the guidance of crew chief Trent Owens leading the team in 2008.