Kurt Busch fastest at the Brickyard

INDIANAPOLIS (August 2, 2002) - Kurt Busch topped the speed charts in day one of practice for Sunday's ninth annual Brickyard 400. Bill Elliott, who won the Winston Cup race at Pocono one week ago, was second fastest after turning a lap at 181.613...

INDIANAPOLIS (August 2, 2002) - Kurt Busch topped the speed charts in day one of practice for Sunday's ninth annual Brickyard 400. Bill Elliott, who won the Winston Cup race at Pocono one week ago, was second fastest after turning a lap at 181.613 mph.

Third fastest was Sterling Marlin, the current Winston Cup points leader. Marlin leads the points for the 19th consecutive race and enjoys his biggest point lead in the last five races. Marlin, who currently leads by 106 points over Mark Martin, led by 110 points over Jimmie Johnson at Michigan in June.

As temperatures cooled at the historic 2.5-mile speedway, speeds increased. Dale Earnhardt Jr. recorded a lap at 180.759 mph, fourth fastest of the day, just before the end of practice.

Mark Martin circled the speedway 18 times with his best lap coming on his 17th circuit. Martin's best, at 180.578 mph, was three-tenths of a second slower than Busch's best lap. Thirty-one cars practiced within one second of each other with the entire field covered by a second and a half.

Fifty different drivers took to the speedway today with Scott Wimmer turning a total of 22 laps, the most of any driver. Wimmer, from High Point, NC, was 43rd on the day.

Most drivers recorded less than 20 laps during today's two-hour practice session.

Notes from the 2002 Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Ken Schrader will substitute for World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski in Saturday's IROC race. Lasoski was injured at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA during an Outlaws race last Friday night.

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Eleven cars will start in the IROC race. Al Unser Jr will miss the race while he continues his treatment for an alcohol-abuse problem. Unser Jr. will not be replaced for Saturday's race.

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Mike Bliss won the USAC Silver Crown race at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Thursday night. Russ Gamester finished second with Jason Leffler third. Bliss and Leffler both compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Tony Stewart drove Galen Fox's No. 56 to a tenth place finish.

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Tony Stewart stopped by Union Jack Pub after Thursday night's USAC race wearing a t-shirt that read, "It's only funny until someone gets hurt -- then it's hilarious."

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On Thursday, August 8, the new Indiana state quarter will be released to the public. The quarter, which features an Indy car, will be released at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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Jeff Gordon said that he is "keeping his fingers crossed" when asked if he will be swapping cars for a day with Williams Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Details have yet to be finalized for the event, which is rumored to take place within the next two weeks.

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Joe Gibbs and Bobby Labonte unveiled a new patriotic paint scheme for the No. 18 car this weekend. The new paint scheme is in place to honor the memory of events that occurred on September 11, 2001.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Ken Schrader , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Al Unser Sr. , Danny Lasoski , Scott Wimmer , Mike Bliss , Russ Gamester , Mark Martin
Teams Williams