Practice at the Brickyard report

Busch leads opening day of Brickyard 400 practice. INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Aug. 2, 2002 -- Kurt Busch led the opening day of practice for the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 2, turning a top lap of 49.523 seconds, 181.734 mph at the Indianapolis Motor ...

Busch leads opening day of Brickyard 400 practice.

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Aug. 2, 2002 -- Kurt Busch led the opening day of practice for the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 2, turning a top lap of 49.523 seconds, 181.734 mph at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Busch's top lap in the No. 97 Rubbermaid Ford came with 22 minutes remaining in the two-hour session under sunny skies and temperatures approaching 90 degrees. Busch's speed topped the fastest official stock-car lap turned on the 2.5-mile oval, 181.072 by Brett Bodine during qualifying in 2000.

It was another display of consistency at the Brickyard by Busch, who recorded a top lap of 181.777 during testing July 10. He was one of six drivers faster than Bodine's official mark during four days of testing last month.

"We're executing what we did in testing and applying what we learned," Busch said. "It's a fun racetrack because it's 90 degrees at a time. The other tracks, you see 180 degrees."

Bill Elliott, winner last Sunday at Pocono, was second and also faster than Bodine's mark at 49.556, 181.613 in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. NASCAR Winston Cup points leader Sterling Marlin was third at 49.726, 180.992 in the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth at 49.790, 180.759 in the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, while Mark Martin rounded out the top five at 49.840, 180.578 in the No. 6 Pfizer/Viagra Ford.

Defending race and Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon was 27th overall at 50.419, 178.504 in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.

Pole qualifying on H.H. Gregg/Sirius Qualifying Day starts at 10:05 a.m. (EST) Saturday, nearly four hours before today's practice started in the midday heat.

But Gordon thinks teams will have an easier time adjusting to the morning track conditions because the surface is more consistent due to diamond-grinding before the Indianapolis 500 in May.

"We practiced in the middle of the day, and we're going to qualify tomorrow morning, so that's going to make things interesting, but I don't think it's going to be as bad as it would've been a couple of years ago," Gordon said.

True Value IROC competitors and test drivers also turned laps today in preparation for the IROC at Indy race at 1 p.m. (EST) Saturday. It's the final event of the four-round IROC season, with 10 of the 11 drivers in the field eligible to win the championship.

Points leader Kevin Harvick will start last, as the starting grid for IROC races is determined by inverting the current series standings. Ken Schrader, substituting for the injured Danny Lasoski, will start from the pole. Schrader is the only driver who can't win the title.

Indy Racing League standouts Helio Castroneves, Sam Hornish Jr., Buddy Lazier and Scott Sharp will drive in the 40-lap, 100-mile race.

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About this article
Series IROC , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Brett Bodine , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Danny Lasoski , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mark Martin