Behind the Barriers: Friday Brickyard 400

Jeremy Mayfield's suspension for drug abuse has been reinstated by the courts. Mayfield was granted an injunction lifting the suspension while hinting that he might run at Daytona three weeks ago. Mayfield has not competed since being suspended.

Jeremy Mayfield's suspension for drug abuse has been reinstated by the courts. Mayfield was granted an injunction lifting the suspension while hinting that he might run at Daytona three weeks ago. Mayfield has not competed since being suspended. NASCAR issued a statement Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We are pleased with the 4th Circuit Court's ruling to reinstate NASCAR's suspension of Jeremy Mayfield. This is an important decision for NASCAR to make fair and equitable regulations for the safety of competitors and spectators at the track. We will continue to respectfully make our case for as long as the litigation continues."

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After last years debacle caused by tires that shredded after10 laps, Goodyear has done their homework. Since last smmer's race, Goodyear has conducted seven tire tests at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Three tests were held last fall, two during the spring prior to the Indianapolis 500 and two were held in June. In all, Goodyear worked with 30 different drivers, logging more than 14,000 miles at the Speedway. The left side tire is the same code tire as run at Pocono while the right side tire is a new compound formulized to address the high wear characteristics of the Speedway.

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Bobby Santos won the USAC Silver Crown race Thursday night at O'Reilly Raceway Park. NASCAR star and 1999 Silver Crown Champion Ryan Newman finished eighth. Bryan Clausen won the USAC National Midget race. The USAC National Midgets compete at the Anderson (IN) Speedway on Saturday night.

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If Scott Speed qualifies for the Brickyard he joins Juan Pablo Montoya, becoming the second person to have competed in the NASCAR race and the United States Grand Prix Formula One race at the Speedway. Speed competed in the USGP in 2006 and 2007. Juan Pablo Montoya has also competed in the Indianapolis 500, winning the race in 2000.

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Jeff Gordon is looking to tie Michael Schumacher's record of five major victories at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon went to victory lane in the Brickyard 400 in 1994, '98, 2001 and '04. Schumacher is a five time winner of the United States Grand Prix on the Speedway's road course. Three drivers have earned four victories in the Indianapolis 500: A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears.

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Road racing veteran Andy Lally has been selected to drive the TRG entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen.

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Comments elicited Thursday night during a barbecue from five time Indy 500 starter Jimmy Kite were remarkably similar to those of four-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon. Kite tested a Cup car at the Speedway, noting that, on his first lap, he had no reference point for braking in Turn one. "I went in deep and had to put both feet on the brake pedal to get it slowed down. By the time I got through the corner, I think I was probably going 65 mph," Kite said with a laugh. "On the next lap, I said, 'let's see if we can go a little faster.'" Gordon's comments on Friday sounded much the same. "The first couple of laps around the track, you always use too much brake. The straightaways are really long and you build up a lot of speed. You have this tunnel vision, and all you see is wall and grandstand. The corner appears to be extremely tight and extremely narrow -- and it is. You always snap out of the gas way too early and use too much brake because the corner is intimidating at first."

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Three drivers, Max Papis, Joey Logano and Scott Speed are attempting to make their first Brickyard 400. Papis, who has competed in the Indianapolis 500 and Speed, who has competed in the USGP, have to qualify on speed. Six drivers entered this weekend have competed in the Indianapolis 500: John Andretti (10 starts), Robby Gordon (10 starts), Sam Hornish Jr. (8 starts), Tony Stewart (five starts), Max Papis (two starts) and Juan Pablo Montoya (one start).

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Tony Stewart has made 18 starts at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - 10 starts in the Cup Series, 5 starts in the Indy 500 and three starts in IROC competition.

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ESPN's live coverage of the August 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan will have a different approach to the commentary provided by the announcers. Rather than a traditional play-by-play announcer, five former NASCAR champions will be onboard for ESPN's "Backseat Drivers" telecast. Tim Brewer will report from the garage area while Ray Evernham, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and Rusty Wallace will be in the announcer's booth. Allen Bestwick will host the telecast with a regular contingent of pit reporters.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya