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Brickyard 400 News and Notes

Re: Brickyard 400 News and Notes

Allstate 400 at The Brickyard 400 PostQ    
The last time the series was on the track Tony Stewart went to victory lane recording his first win of the season. Stewart wins in bunches and is the favorite to win for one of the most prestigious races in all of racing when the Cup series hits The Brickyard. This is considered to be Stewart’s “home track” and he has run well here in his career. In eight career starts he has finished in the top 20 in every race with a win coming in 2005. Stewart qualified in the top 15 and with only the one practice session sits in the top 15 on the Speed chart. Once the race begins however, expect the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet to make a quick move to the front.

Could this be the week that Kasey Kahne finally turns his season around? Kahne has been an afterthought much of the 2007 season after leading the series in wins last year with six. He has just two top 10s on the season, both coming at Daytona, with 12 finishes coming outside the top 20. Kahne is out of contention to be a contender in the Chase for the Championship as he sits 24 in the point standings but could bring a glimmer of hope for the 2008 season with a win in the Allstate 400. The #9 Dodge Dealers Dodge may not be running that well this season but he could surprise this weekend.

With all of the news occurring this week Mark Martin just wants to go out and race. The newest member of DEI after the Ginn Racing merger this week Martin could make it an even better week with a trip to victory lane. He has run well at Indianapolis in the last few seasons posting back-to-back top 10 finishes and looked good in the abbreviated practice and qualifying sessions. Martin nearly missed out on a trip to victory lane during the Daytona 500. Winning at The Brickyard would more than make up for that missed opportunity.

Even though he is the defending winner of this race Jimmie Johnson does not run all that well at Indianapolis. In five career starts he has the win to go with one other top 10 while also posting a pair of finishes outside the top 30 for an average finish of 20th place. Johnson ranked just 19th on the PreQ forecast and falls out of the top 20 after a decent qualifying run but a tough time in the lone practice session. The #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet is more than likely to finish in the top 20 but expect to see the other building supply sponsor to have a better day.

It was quite a surprise to see young Reed Sorenson take his first career pole at The Brickyard. While it was a big moment for Sorenson it may be short lived as he is averaging a 30th place finish in his career at the track albeit he has just one career start. Still, Sorenson does not have the best of luck on the flat-banked superspeedways as he is averaging a lowly 32nd place finish in five starts with a top finish of 24th place. Sorenson could surprise with a top 20 finish but he will likely fade throughout the race day. There are better sleeper drivers available.

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Re: Brickyard 400 News and Notes

Five drivers to watch in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard

1Jeff Gordon. He’s won this race four times. Gordon is the current points leader and is starting to smell a fifth Nextel Cup championship.

2Matt Kenseth. He usually drives well at Indy — four top-five finishes — but has never won the race. Kenseth wants a victory in this race on his resume.

3 Tony Stewart. This is his turf. Stewart grew up an hour or so south of Indy, loves the speedway the way dogs love cheese and has proved he can win here.

4 Kevin Harvick. He’s got a pole and a victory at Indy. Harvick has also finished third and fifth and has led three times in six races.

5 Clint Bowyer. He has one Brickyard race on his resume. Bowyer qualified second and finished fourth last year.

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Re: Brickyard 400 News and Notes

Paper's experts pick the Brickyard

The Paper

With Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis coming up, The Paper has asked its local sports experts to make their picks on who will cross victory lane.

Sports Editor John Groth, Night Editor Rob Lee and Community Editor Barry Lewis present their top three picks and who they think will win this year's race.

Rob Lee

Night Editor

1. Mark Martin

2. Tony Stewart

3. Kevin Harvick

Being the conspiracy theorist, I think it will be Mark Martin taking the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. DEI has to make a quick and big splash with the acquisition of Ginn Racing. Martin is the lead driver although on a part-time basis. Watch for Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick right behind. Kasey Kahne is sponsored by Allstate - so watch for him fellow conspirators.

John Groth

Sports Editor

1. Jeff Gordon

2. Matt Kenseth

3. Juan Pablo Montoya

Nearly every three years, Jeff Gordon wins this race. Guess what - this year marks the third year since he won his last Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

With wins in 1994, 1998, 2001 and 2004, Gordon has proved he knows this track. He grew up only 15 minutes from it in Pittsboro.

Matt Kenseth always seems to be around the leaders at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. In the past seven years, he has four top-5 finishes - including a second-place finish last year. He's also due for a spot in victory lane.

Before finding the Gordon statistic I was going to pick Kenseth. But now I'm going with the hometown favorite.

Barry Lewis

Community Editor

1. Jeff Gordon - The hometown boy won the first race in 1994 and then waited four years to win again at Indy. He also has titles in 2001 and 2004 (see the pattern). If history repeats itself, he should win in 2007.

2. Tony Stewart - He always seems to put together a strong second half of the season. That began in Chicago and he will contend until the end and take a strong second this weekend.

3. Ryan Newman - After the top two it's a crap shoot so let's go with a third Indiana-born driver. The Brickyard hasn't been too kind to him in the past, so maybe this will be the year he breaks through.

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Re: Brickyard 400 News and Notes

Allstate storylines
By Jerry Bonkowski, Yahoo! Sports
July 29, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS – Here are the key storylines to watch for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

# Tony Stewart is riding the momentum of his win at Chicago two weeks ago. Can he build upon it to capture his second win at the Brickyard in the last three years? And don't forget this: When Tony won in 2005, it spearheaded his push to the Nextel Cup championship. For that matter, Jimmie Johnson's win at Indy last year did the same. In fact, six of the first 13 winners of the Brickyard have gone on to win the Cup title in the same season. Will history repeat itself in 2007?

# Jeff Gordon is on a quest for five this season – not just his fifth Cup championship, but also his fifth win at the Brickyard. The current points leader has dominated the series for most of the season and already has – surprise! – four wins. Can he notch number five today? If you believe in the power of numerology, he does it handily.

# Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 the last time he was at Indy back in 2000. Starting today's race from the outside pole, can he pretend he's driving a sleek, 1,800-pound Indy car instead of a 3,400-pound stock car and cruise all the way to victory lane? Forget about Cup "rookie" Montoya being a dark horse today. He's the real deal – and he's the only guy in the field who has ever won an Indy 500. Deja vu and the right Juan, too?

# Today's race marks the official start of the merger between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Ginn Racing. Will the suddenly larger four-car team have a chance against Hendrick, Gibbs, Childress and Roush? Don't be surprised to see a battle to the finish between new "teammates" Dale Earnhardt Jr. and veteran Mark Martin. Neither has won at Indy, but there's always a first time for everything, right?

# Typically, the 400 is a relatively clean race. You don't usually see the huge, multi-car wrecks that you see at similar superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega. Sure, both of those are restrictor plate tracks, which help contribute to big crashes. But with so much on the line today for so many teams – both the achievers and underachievers – will drivers be over-anxious to do well, and will that lead to a bing-bang-boom atmosphere? Let's put it this way: Get ready to put a couple more hot dogs on the grill and make sure you have a few more cans of your favorite beverage in the fridge.

# Today also marks the return of ESPN to the NASCAR airwaves. With lots of high-tech gadgetry and a few gimmicks up their sleeve, it should be interesting to see how viewers react and how well the self-professed Worldwide Leader does in comparison to its predecessors this year, namely Fox and TNT. Even more important, and not just for this race alone, will ESPN (and then ABC for the 10 races in the Chase for the Nextel Cup) be able to stem the tide of dropping viewership numbers, which have fallen off about 10 percent collectively thus far this season? Let's put it this way: if ESPN/ABC doesn't bring back viewers to their TV sets, nothing will.

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Re: Brickyard 400 News and Notes

NASCAR plans competition cautions today

INDIANAPOLIS - NASCAR officials plan to have a pair of competition cautions in the early laps of today's Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Rain forced all practices to be cancelled on Friday and drivers had only one session on Saturday. Some drivers complained about tire wear in that session. Now, officials will call a competition caution on laps 15 and 40 of the race. Those will be the only times that teams can take gas in the first 40 laps of the NASCAR Nextel Cup race.

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Re: Brickyard 400 News and Notes

mvbski wrote:

mvbski wrote:

Not so fast: Kasey Kahne.

All of the Everham cars look fast with the old nose back on his cars for this race.  wink

Evernham reverts to past for future

-- Evernham Motorsports will use bodies based on a 2006 Dodge for the rest of this year's non-car of tomorrow races after the team discovered an issue that might help explain problems it has had with 2007 bodies.

Team owner Ray Evernham said Saturday the cars his team was putting on the track did not match what was being used in computer models by the team's engineers.

Eric Warren, technical director of Evernham Motorsports, has been placed on leave because the problem fell under his area of responsibility.

As an example, Evernham said he found the radiators in cars being used by Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Scott Riggs were not where they were shown to be in the computer models.

It seemed to make a difference in Allstate 400 qualifying. Kahne was fifth fastest, Riggs 16th and Sadler 17th.

Kahne won six races last year, five of them in the same car. That car was used as the template as the team built 2006 bodies for its drivers to use at Indianapolis this weekend. Evernham said that because the team had been using faulty information to work on its '07 cars he wanted to go back to something he knew worked to provide a starting point for the rest of the races in which that car will be employed.

Evernham said he knew something had to be done when his teams struggled so badly last weekend at Chicagoland. Kahne finished five laps down, Sadler finished seven laps down and Riggs failed to make the race.

"At one point in the race, I brought Elliott in and we made an 11-pound adjustment in one tire," Evernham said. "Eleven pounds.

"And then we did a half-turn of wedge and he took off."

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Re: Brickyard 400 News and Notes

Stewart scores second career win at Brickyard in dominating form
July 29, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -After years of torment, Tony Stewart has mastered his hometown Holy Grail.

Stewart scored his second career victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, dominating Sunday at the track that caused him a decade of heartache and once even threatened his career.

But he found peace at the Brickyard with his electric 2005 breakthrough victory, and this time found a way to make it look downright easy. Stewart led a race-high 66 of the 160 laps, but was passed by 2003 winner Kevin Harvick on a restart with 20 to go.

He never panicked as he chased down Harvick, even taunting his friend over the radio. ``Here, kitty, kitty, kitty,'' he called. ``Come get you some of this.''

The two-time series champion closed onto Harvick's bumper and made at least two attempts to pass, only to be rebuffed as Harvick held tight to the lead. Stewart finally powered alongside of him with 10 to go, but Harvick wouldn't relent and the two Chevrolets touched as they drag-raced around the historic 2 1/2-mile oval.

Stewart held steady, surged into the lead, then seemingly put his orange No. 20 on cruise control for the final 25 miles. With six to go, his in-car camera caught him casually drinking from a water bottle with no hands on his steering wheel as he headed down the straightaway at more than 200 miles per hour.

He frantically pumped his fist through the window as he crossed the finish line at his beloved race track. After a brief victory lap, he stopped his car on the Yard of Bricks, was embraced by his father, Nelson, his Joe Gibbs Racing crew. The team then joined him for his celebratory fence climb.

Juan Pablo Montoya, who won the 2000 Indianapolis 500 in his only appearance, chased down Harvick to finish second place - his best showing on an oval since leaving Formula One last summer.

Jeff Gordon, the series points leader and four-time Brickyard winner, was third and was followed by Kyle Busch, pole-sitter Reed Sorenson and Mark Martin.

Harvick faded all the way to seventh after Stewart's race-winning pass. Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 10.

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