Chicago a good spot for a first-time Busch winner

If it's a first-time Busch Series winner you want to see, Chicagoland Speedway has proved to be just the right place for it, writes Rupen Fofaria.

Updated: July 12, 2007, 4:59 PM ET
By Rupen Fofaria | Special to ESPN.com

The six previous Busch Series races at Chicagoland Speedway have resulted in four drivers securing their first career Busch Series win.

Casey Mears (2006), Justin Labonte (2004), Johnny Sauter (2002) and Jimmie Johnson (2001) were all first-time Busch Series victors when they scored their wins at Chicagoland Speedway.

"You always love returning to a place you won," Mears said. "The team's been great this year and we've got a lot of momentum behind us."

Mears is hoping to capture another first at Chicagoland this season -- his first Busch win of the year. He's got 11 top-10s in 12 starts. Still, even he admits it wouldn't be as celebrated as was his victory last year.

To that end, a host of teams are hoping to join the list of first-time Busch winners at Chicago. David Stremme and Co. are among them.

"We're taking one of our fastest race cars to Chicago with us, so we're all pumped up about our chances of visiting Victory Circle this weekend," crew chief Paul Wolf said. "The crew has worked hard getting this car ready to race again, and we know what it's capable of doing on the track.

"David Stremme is back with us for this race, and he's a talented driver who can definitely get the job done for us on the track. So, all in all, we're ready to race."

Ambrose's crew chief fined
NASCAR fined Greg Conner (crew chief of the No. 59 Ford driven by Marcos Ambrose) $1,000 for nonconforming parts and an unapproved aerodynamic modification found during prequalifying inspection at Daytona International Speedway on July 6. No points were deducted.

Keselowski set for JR Motorsports debut
Brad Keselowski will take a seat in the No. 88 Chevrolet this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway as team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes the 24-year-old on a three-race test drive.

Keselowski, from nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., drove in 13 races for KCR this season before the team suspended its operations due to owner Keith Coleman's medical issues. Keselowski's best finish was 24th at Dover.

Rupen Fofaria has covered NASCAR for ESPN.com since 2002. He can be reached at rupenisracin@yahoo.com.