Watkins Glen: News of note, schedule

* Brickyard 400 has huge local TV audience * Eight cars sent to wind-tunnel testing NEWS & NOTES * TV Timeout: Indy residents turned out -- and tuned in ... In Indianapolis, at last Sunday's Brickyard 400, approximately 300,000 fans were on...

* Brickyard 400 has huge local TV audience
* Eight cars sent to wind-tunnel testing


* TV Timeout: Indy residents turned out -- and tuned in ... In Indianapolis, at last Sunday's Brickyard 400, approximately 300,000 fans were on hand. As far as the Indy market's TV race-watchers were concerned, the event (broadcast by NBC) earned an incredible 22.1 rating -- outside the Daytona 500, the highest local market rating for any race this year. Indy led the way for 16 markets that had a rating greater than 8.0, including non-traditional NASCAR markets Dayton (10.5), Milwaukee (8.7), Columbus (8.5) and St. Louis (8.2). (Figures from NBC and Nielsen Media Research.)

* TV Timeout II: Perception may not be reality when it comes to commercials ... MotorsportsTV.com has published a report addressing fans' concerns about commercials interrupting race broadcasts. Data from 102 broadcasts from 2000 through 2003 was examined. The data included the amount of commercial time per hour in each broadcast and the amount of commercial time between the start of the race and the checkered flag. According to the report, the data indicated that there appears to be no significant increase in commercial time during that span. In 2000, the average amount of commercials per hour was 14 minutes, 39 seconds. According to the report, in 2003, through the Brickyard 400, the average is 14:47, an increase of only eight seconds of commercial time per hour under the landmark TV contract that went into effect in 2001.

* Charting the NASCAR Top 10: Kenseth's grip tightens ... Matt Kenseth has been No. 1 in the NASCAR Top 10 since the fourth race of the season (Atlanta, March 9). His second-place finish at the Brickyard 400 allowed him to come away with his largest lead of the season -- 286 points. ... This week's new arrival to the NASCAR Top 10 -- at No. 10 -- is Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge). ... Exiting the NASCAR Top 10 this week is Jeff Burton (No. 99 CITGO Ford).

* Winston Leader Bonus reaches $220,000 ... It's been 52 races since the NASCAR Winston Cup point leader won a race and took home the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus. The bonus is paid when a race winner also is the series points leader. Kenseth leads the series points and has the only shot at the bonus this week. The previous record bonus was $190,000, collected by Bobby Labonte (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet) via a win at Indianapolis in 2000. The $10,000 bonus is available following every NASCAR Winston Cup race. If the point leader does not win the race, the bonus rolls over to the next week.

* Big names go short-track racing in Pennsylvania ... Brickyard 400 winner Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) will compete in a special "Race of Champions" with Michael Waltrip (No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet), Greg Biffle (No. 60 Grainger Ford) and Dave Blaney (No. 77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford), on Saturday night at Lake Erie Speedway, a 3/8-mile NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series track in North East, Pa. This special event marks Waltrip's second visit to the facility. "This track is beautiful... this is a real tribute to short track racing," Waltrip said after participating in Lake Erie's "Race of Champions" event last season. All four drivers are scheduled to participate in an autograph session from 5-6:30 p.m. followed by a special match race.

* Aero exam: eight cars at the wind tunnel ... Eight NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars -- two from each manufacturer -- were involved in an extensive wind-tunnel test on Tuesday at a facility in Marietta, Ga. The following cars were obtained for the test following Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet of Tony Stewart; No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon; No. 38 M&M's Ford of Elliott Sadler; No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford of Matt Kenseth; No. 42 Havoline Dodge of Jamie McMurray; No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge of Rusty Wallace; No. 32 Tide Pontiac of Ricky Craven; and No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac of Johnny Benson. "The focus of this test is for the '04 season and has nothing to do with the competition this season," said NASCAR Winston Cup Series director John Darby. "We're going to get a snapshot of where everyone is today and also conduct some preliminary testing in spoiler reduction."

* Take a hike: Petty fabricator did just that, to benefit camp ... Ray Hudson, a shop fabricator at Petty Enterprises, hiked the entire 2,172-mile Appalachian Trail starting in Springer Mountain, Ga. on March 1. Hudson completed his hike on July 21, 143 days after he began. His inspiration for this incredible journey was to raise funds for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty. Ray will return to his hometown of Randleman, N.C. for "Ray Hudson Day" on Aug. 11. Everyone who donated to Hudson's hike will be invited to join Richard and Kyle Petty to welcome Hudson back. A check for the total amount the hike earned will be presented to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.


* All those favorite sons of Indiana competing in NASCAR's Winston Cup Series have nothing on Californian Kevin Harvick. Like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and John Andretti, Harvick grew up dreaming of the moment he would drive into Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His inspiration, Harvick said Sunday afternoon, was an old autographed picture from the racing hero in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. "It just says, 'Good luck, hope to see you here someday,' from Rick Mears,'" Harvick said with boyish enthusiasm after winning the 10th Brickyard 400. -- John Sturbin, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

* Kevin Harvick won the Brickyard 400 today, entitling his crew to kneel and kiss the bricks at the start-finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is only one of the many traditions at this famous old racetrack. His heart rate and breathing patterns back to normal, Richard Childress, the owner of Harvick's Chevrolet, participated, too. Childress said he kissed the bricks three times. "I'd never had a kiss that felt so good," Childress said sheepishly. -- Dave Caldwell, New York Times

* Sporting a color scheme similar to what predecessor Dale Earnhardt drove here to victory in 1995, Harvick paid homage to the late seven-time (NASCAR) Winston Cup champion. "Anything we can do that Dale Earnhardt did is an accomplishment," he said, emotion spilling through his voice. "He's what made this whole organization what it is today. I'm just glad to be a part of it." -- Godwin Kelly, Daytona Beach News-Journal

* It isn't the Indianapolis 500, but it is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so for drivers who grew up in Indiana dreaming of taking the checkered flag while crossing the historic yard of bricks at the finish line, winning the Brickyard 400 is about as good as it can get. -- Shav Glick, Los Angeles Times


Jeff Gordon's four NASCAR Winston Cup wins are the most at Watkins Glen. ... Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford), who has three wins at The Glen, has led 204 laps at the road course, more than any other driver. ... Martin's 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes at Watkins Glen are best among all drivers. ... Each of Jeff Burton's top-10 Watkins Glen finishes -- including his second-place finish in 2001 -- have come in the last three races there. ... Ricky Rudd (No. 21 Motorcraft Ford) has accumulated 25 modern era road course top-five finishes, best among all drivers.


* "There's only one lap that I care to lead, and that's the last one."
    -- Jeff Gordon, commenting on being 83 laps shy of the 15,000 laps-led career milestone.

* "Out of the two road courses [Watkins Glen] is probably my favorite. The key to Watkins Glen is don't burn up the brakes going into the corners. It's typical road-course mentality -- keep it on the track, keep the fenders on it, the transmission under it, and you should have a good day. We've always been really good there in the Winston Cup car, the Busch car, the Craftsman trucks. I guess it just fits my driving style."
    -- Brickyard 400 champion Kevin Harvick.

* "I don't mind the road courses. I'm not uncomfortable going to these types of tracks like some guys are." -- Bill Elliott (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge).


Billy Wade won the NASCAR Winston Cup (then known as Grand National) race at Watkins Glen in 1964, the last in a streak of four consecutive victories that summer. Those were his only wins in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.


What: Sirius At The Glen.
Where: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
When: 1:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, Aug. 10.

TV: NBC, 1 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite

Race length: 220.5 miles/90 laps.
Track layout: 2.45-mile road course.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday--Practice, 11:20 a.m.-1:20 p.m. Qualifying--3:05 p.m. Saturday--Practice, 9:30-10:15 a.m. and 11:10-11:55 a.m.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Jeff Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Kyle Petty , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Ryan Newman , Johnny Benson , Ricky Craven , Jamie McMurray , Rick Mears , Elliott Sadler , Mark Martin