KURT BUSCH LEADS ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD FRIDAY PRACTICE INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Aug. 4, 2006 -- Kurt Busch's lap of 182.039 mph in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge was fastest among the 50 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers who turned Allstate 400...
KURT BUSCH LEADS ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD FRIDAY PRACTICE
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Aug. 4, 2006 -- Kurt Busch's lap of 182.039 mph in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge was fastest among the 50 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers who turned Allstate 400 at the Brickyard practice laps Aug. 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Busch, who was married July 27 in Virginia, was all smiles following practice -- for both the positive happenings in life both at and away from the racetrack.
"It's been an interesting couple of weeks, with my life and what's going on and what the team is doing while I have been gone, to really hunker down and put a lot of effort into this Indianapolis race," he said. "They have given me what every driver dreams of: a position to go for the pole on Pole Day. I hope I can deliver for the Miller Lite team tomorrow. (It) feels good that we have done our homework and it has translated into a solid start so far this weekend. It's just real exciting to have a shot at the pole."
Pole qualifying for the 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is scheduled to start at 10:10 a.m. (ET) Aug. 5, followed by two one-hour practice sessions, starting at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively.
Busch's car is owned by legendary team owner Roger Penske, whose open-wheel racing team has won the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race a record 14 times, including the 90th edition of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" with driver Sam Hornish Jr. on May 28.
But the closest a Penske NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series car has come to winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is three runner-up finishes, in 1995, 2000 and 2002, by Rusty Wallace, Busch's predecessor. Busch knows what winning at Indy means to his boss.
"I was cruising around in the garage area this morning, (the) phone rang, and it was Roger," Busch said. "He was pumping me up on what this means to him, and he had already let me know this before the wedding. And now it is after the wedding, and he is still letting me know what it means to him.
"That sense of pride, you can hear it in his voice. The amount of emphasis he puts into it and the team, I think the car (for Indy) was re-bodied twice to make it better. To be here in May and to share just a few moments with him on what he did to sit on the pole with Sam Hornish and to win the race, it's very special to him, and it's always been special to me. To see Rusty's past here, finishing second a few times, it gives you the motivation to know this car is capable, Roger is capable of it, and now can I step up to the plate and deliver for our sponsors and everybody involved. I feel like I am up and ready for the challenge."
Kasey Kahne, runner-up in the 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, was second fastest in today's practice at 181.995 in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. Robby Gordon was third at 181.181 in the No. 7 Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet, Scott Riggs fourth at 181.097 in the No. 10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge, and Ken Schrader rounded out the top five overall in the No. 21 Little Debbie Ford at 180.908.
The top six speeds of the day were recorded in the second practice session; Schrader was fastest among all drivers in the first session.
The only major incident of the day involved Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates rookie driver Reed Sorenson, who spun in Turn 1 with less than 10 minutes to go in the second practice session and hit the SAFER Barrier, causing heavy rear-end damage to the No. 41 Target Dodge. Sorenson, who was eighth fastest in practice before the accident, was unhurt and cleared to drive.
Several other notable drivers had mixed results in Friday practice. Defending Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Tony Stewart was 28th fastest in the second session in the No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet at 178.334. NEXTEL Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson, who has struggled in his three most recent starts at IMS with finishes from 2003-05 of 18th, 36th and 36th, respectively, was seventh fastest on the day at 180.296 in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet.
Four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon, who celebrated his 35th birthday Aug. 4, was 24th fastest at 178.575 in the second session. Gordon will attempt to tie two records Sunday. Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, could tie Michael Schumacher as the only five-time race winners in IMS history. Schumacher collected his fifth Formula One United States Grand Prix victory on July 2 at Indianapolis.
Gordon could also equal the late Dale Earnhardt's 76 career wins with a victory at IMS.
The 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6.
Tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 6 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.
Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.
Reserved seats start at just $35.