AROUND THE GARAGE
The drivers' championship in the Busch Series has gotten so out of hand that even points leader Carl Edwards is bored with it.
"We do have the big picture in mind," he said recently. "Owners' points."
KELLER READY TO BREAK RECORD
Tied with Tommy Houston for most starts in Busch Series history, Jason Keller's qualifying effort for Friday's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway will be much anticipated. With a time trial fast enough to make the field, he'll break the record. And Houston will be there to watch.
"When I first came into the series, I raced against Tommy a lot," Keller said. "I've definitely respected what he did for the series, and now that it's grown so much, it's really because of people like him and some of the guys that originally started."
HAMLIN HOPING TO TURN TIDE
Denny Hamlin has not had the greatest success at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
In five starts at the 1.5-mile track, he has only one top-10 and an average finish of 24.2. If you ask him, though, he just needs some more experience at the intermediate-sized racetrack.
"I need more laps before I'll be really comfortable out there," he said. "The high-banked intermediates have been a little bit of a struggle for us, even though we've still managed to put up some good results. I know we have the equipment for it, so for someone like me who has only made a handful of Cup starts at some tracks, it really does help to turn a bunch of laps to get used to the track under a variety of conditions."
And why shouldn't he look past the Busch Series drivers' title? He is just four points short of a 700-point lead, and there are only five races left in the season. For Edwards to actually lose this title, he would have to finish last and one of his closest competitors would have to win four of these remaining races.
Meanwhile, the duo of drivers to pilot Richard Childress Racing's No. 29 car has done a better combined job than Edwards has in his Roush Fenway Racing No. 60, leaving Roush trailing Hendrick by 54 in the Busch owners' points.
That's made that one a little bit more fun to watch.
"All that we can do as a team is our very best, and if we do that, the points will add up," said Jeff Burton, the primary driver of the No. 29 car. "We can't control the other teams or worry about what the other teams are doing. We have to focus on what we are doing and do a good job. If we do that, then the results will follow."
And that isn't the only title which has kept Busch Series racing exciting, despite Edwards' gargantuan lead. Watching three drivers clash for the unofficial title as the top Busch Series-only racer has been fun, too. Bobby Hamilton Jr., Marcos Ambrose and Stephen Leicht are separated by 212 points (the distance from ninth to fifth).
"All of us right there are Busch-only guys and all about in the same spot," Leicht said. "So we are all fighting for the bragging rights of being the highest Busch-only driver. It's going to be a good and fun end of the year. I think we'll be able to laugh about it when it's all over."
STEVEN GETS AX FROM DAD, KIND OF
Rusty Wallace Inc. announced that Cup driver Reed Sorenson will pilot the No. 66 Dodge around Lowe's Motor Speedway this weekend. That leaves Steven Wallace, Rusty Wallace's son, watching from the outside.
Rusty Wallace said it was not a reflection of his son's abilities.
"Our entire organization and all of our partners are 110 percent behind Steve," he said. "This is absolutely not a reflection on his ability or potential; we want to do everything it takes to put him and our 66 car back up front where they belong."
EURY JR.'S NEW GIG
Tony Eury Jr., now the former crew chief for the No. 8 Chevy driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Nextel Cup Series, will pull chief duties for Brad Keselowski, the driver for the Earnhardt-owned JR Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet.
Rupen Fofaria has covered NASCAR for ESPN.com since 2002. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.