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This week in motor racing

Gearing Up

June 06, 2008|Jim Peltz | Times Staff Writer

What's happening in motor sports heading into this weekend:

1. Kyle Busch is going for a historic NASCAR trifecta this weekend, with three races in three series in three states in three days.

Busch plans to qualify his Sprint Cup car at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania today, then fly to Texas Motor Speedway for a Craftsman Series truck race tonight.

He'll fly back to Pocono for practice Saturday then head to Nashville for a Nationwide Series race later that day, then return to Pocono for the Cup race Sunday.

"Shouldn't be that big a deal," Busch, 23, said when asked if he had the stamina for the whirlwind tour.

"The only thing that I do worry, we have a TV crew and stuff like that going with us," said Busch, who leads the Cup point standings. "That's kind of going to be probably the most draining thing, is just toting them around with us."

2. Robert Kubica returns to the site of his scary crash a year ago, Montreal, as the Formula One series holds the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Polish driver for the BMW Sauber team not only escaped the crash at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit with only minor injuries, he returned this year as one of the series' top contenders.

Kubica, 23, is fourth in the championship standings -- only six points behind series leader Lewis Hamilton -- and hopes to notch his first career Formula One victory this season.

3. The IndyCar Series holds the Bombardier Learjet 550K on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, where two of the series' top drivers -- teammates Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon -- have never won.

The Target Chip Ganassi teammates have a combined five top-three finishes at the 1.5-mile oval, but no victories.

"This track is one that I want to win at desperately," said Wheldon, the series 2005 champion.

Dixon, this year's Indianapolis 500 winner, said "it's a big pack race" and "you have to keep a conscious mind about the other cars around you."

4. Motorcycle racer Benny Solis Jr., 13, of North Hollywood is going for his third straight win Sunday in the Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup, a developmental series for youngsters hoping to eventually reach the sport's top levels.

The race, at the Road America track in Elkhart Lake, Wis., is the third of the season. Solis won the opener at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama and at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma last month.

That's put Solis atop the series point standings, followed by Austin DeHaven, 14, of Santa Monica.

5. Locally, the Championship Off Road Racing series, which features off-road trucks racing in a closed-course arena, resumes Saturday and Sunday at the Fairplex in Pomona.

The first round of the AMA/USA Speedway National Championship motorcycle races is scheduled Saturday night at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.

Also Saturday night, late-model stock cars lead the multi-race program at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, and sprint cars are featured at Perris Auto Speedway and Ventura Raceway.

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LIFE IN THE FAST LANE

Tony Stewart, after winning his own charity dirt-track race at Eldora Speedway in Ohio that included several other NASCAR drivers:

'After crashing out last year, I was bound and determined that I was going to run better.'

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STAT OF THE WEEK

Rick Hendrick, above, leads car owners in all-time wins (11) at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, site of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

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Have a motor sports question for Peltz? E-mail him at james.peltz@latimes.com

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