NASCAR & Auto Racing

Race Day at The Brickyard

A little more to chew on while waiting for the racing at Indianapolis Morot Speedway:

Three things to watch

1. Tire wear, especially early, could be an issue. Rain this week washed the racing surface clean, and until rubber is worked in the track will be abrasive. How fast that changes and how teams adapt to those changes will be key.

2. Six of the past nine Nextel Cup champions won here on their way to their titles. Whether that¡¦s coincidence or meaningful omen, this year¡¦s contenders wouldn¡¦t mind trying to make that seven for 10.

3. Jeff Gordon is a four-time winner of this race, but he hasn¡¦t led a lap at Indianapolis since he led 124 of them in his most recent win in 2004.

Practice

The cars finally got on the track and got in 3|¦1/4 hours of work. J.J. Yeley and Robby Gordon both crashed primary cars and will be in backups today. Chip Ganassi Racing¡¦s three Dodges led the long session, with Reed Sorenson first, David Stremme second and Juan Pablo Montoya sixth. Kyle Busch was third fastest, followed in the top five by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott Sadler.

Observer Picks

David Poole

MATT KENSETH: Gives car owner Jack Roush his first Indianapolis victory.

Jim Utter

RYAN NEWMAN: Another Indiana native gets a victory at the Brickyard.

News and Notes

Martin overwhelmed to be at DEI

Until Monday, Mark Martin had never even been to the Dale Earnhardt Inc. headquarters in Mooresville. Now, at least technically, he works there.

¡§It is pretty overwhelming,¡¨ the driver of the No.|01 Chevrolet said. ¡§When I opened the door and stepped in, I realized the magnitude of this. It¡¦s something that I could have never scripted or dreamed that it would happen.¡¨Martin said he¡¦s excited about the four-car team that resulted from last week¡¦s merger between DEI and Ginn Racing.

¡§It¡¦s been a difficult week for everyone,¡¨ Martin said. ¡§As we move forward, we will hopefully be able to integrate and make our performances even stronger.¡¨

Martin¡¦s team, with which he shares the ride with Aric Almirola, will remain at what was Ginn¡¦s shop in Mooresville and be joined there immediately by Paul Menard¡¦s team. Eventually, all four Cup cars will be based at that shop. Petty reaches another milestone

Kyle Petty returns to the No. 45 Dodge

After a stint as an analyst for TNT, Kyle Petty reaches a milestone with his 800th start.

¡§I was very fortunate and very blessed to race on the same race track with a David Pearson, a Richard Petty, a Cale Yarborough, a Buddy Baker, a Bobby Allison, guys like that,¡¨ Kyle Petty said.

¡§It¡¦s kind of funny you can reach back and have memories of a bygone era that everybody says that they are still madly in love with, but at the same time you see how the sport has evolved and how healthy the sport is and where it is heading.¡¨

In his role of securing the future of Petty Enterprises, Kyle Petty finds himself pondering some pointed questions.

¡§Why is it my job as a Cup owner to keep the Busch Series alive?¡¨ Petty said. ¡§It¡¦s not my job to keep the Truck Series alive. Let them find their own owners and their own people and stand on their own. If they can¡¦t stand on their own then it¡¦s a bad business model.¡¨

RCR honors late Wake coach

Richard Childress Racing¡¦s Chevrolets will carry decals Sunday honoring Skip Prosser, the Wake Forest men¡¦s basketball coach who died Thursday.

¡§I grew up in Winston-Salem and have spent my entire life living and working in the area,¡¨ Childress said.

¡§We just want everyone in the Wake Forest community to know that we¡¦re thinking about them during this difficult time.¡¨ Winston-Salem is about 15 miles from the RCR headquarters in Welcome.

Just the Facts

Allstate 400

WHERE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday.

WEATHER: Mostly sunny, 84 degrees.

TV: Coverage begins at 1 p.m. on ESPN.

RADIO: Indianapolis Motor Speedway network.

RACE DISTANCE: 400 miles (160 laps).

TRACK LENGTH: 2.5 miles.

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