Big entry ready for "Summer's Fastest Weekend" at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. (July 24) -- Nearly 100 race cars have entered this weekend's fifth annual Humminbird Fishfinder 500k and 28th annual Sears DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Fifty-four cars -- including those for 12 NASCAR Winston Cup Series regulars -- have entered Saturday's $456,634 NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division Humminbird 500k at the 2.66-mile oval, the season's 17th race. The Humminbird 500k is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Central time. Forty-three cars have entered Sunday's $1,631,758 NASCAR Winston Cup Series DieHard 500, the season's 18th race. The DieHard 500 is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m. Central time. Practice for the Busch Series cars will run from 10-11:30 a.m. and 12-2 p.m. Thursday. Busch Pole Award Qualifying to set positions 1-25 in the 38-car field for the Humminbird 500k will be at 3:30 p.m. Jeff Purvis, driving the Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, is the event's two-time defending pole winner. Busch Series practice runs from 8-9:30 a.m. Friday, with Busch Beer Second-Round Qualifying for the BGN cars set for 10 a.m. Up to five provisional starting spots will be available to eligible teams. Final practice for the Busch Series cars is scheduled following pole qualifying for the DieHard 500, time permitting. NASCAR Winston Cup practice is set from 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Friday. Busch Pole Award Qualifying to set positions 1-25 in the 38-car field for the DieHard 500 will be at 3 p.m. Sterling Marlin, who won the Winston Select 500 at Talladega in the spring, is the defending pole winner for the DieHard 500. NASCAR Winston Cup practice will run from 8:30-9:45 a.m. Saturday with Busch Second-Round Qualifying at 10:45 a.m. Up to five provisional starting spots will be available to eligible teams. The final "Happy Hour" practice will be held following the Humminbird 500k, time permitting. The Humminbird 500k will be telecast live on CBS TV at 12:45 p.m. Central and broadcast live on MRN Radio at 12:45. Chad Little is the event's defending champion. David Green, a two-time winner this season, holds a 75-point lead over Randy LaJoie coming into the weekend. LaJoie won the series' most recent event at New Hampshire International Speedway, his third victory of the year. The DieHard 500 will be telecast live on CBS at 12 noon and broadcast live on MRN at 12 noon. Marlin is the event's defending champion and has won two straight NASCAR Winston Cup races at the "World's Fastest Speedway." Following his victory at the Pepsi 400 July 6, Marlin has won four of the last seven restrictor plate races held at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega, and three of the last four. His Morgan-McClure Motorsports team with cagey engine builder Shelton "Runt" Pittman has won eight of the last 17 plate races in a stretch in which only two teams -- Richard Childress Racing with three and Junior Johnson with two -- has won more than one plate race. Terry Labonte holds a 12-point lead over Dale Earnhardt in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. Defending Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon is 80 points behind Labonte. For ticket information for this weekend's events call Talladega Superspeedway at 205-362-9064.