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Virtual Pit Reporter: News on top 25 teams

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1) Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: Johnson leads the points race by 97 points over Matt Kenseth going into the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Johnson has completed 552 of 641 laps in his four starts at Indianapolis. He has an average starting position of 24.2 and an average finishing position of 25.2. He has not led a lap there and has just one top-10 finish, a ninth in 2002, his rookie season. Johnson has finished 18th or worse in three of his four races at Indy, including a 38th last year. "I've raced OK there, and I do have confidence going back to that track," Johnson said. "The results don't really show it, but I definitely feel like we're making stuff better and we should be able to go there and have a top-10 day."
  • Last race: Johnson finished sixth at Pocono.
  • Etc.: Jimmie and Chandra Johnson will make an announcement Friday morning regarding the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.

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    2) Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Ford, Roush Racing
  • This week: Kenseth has three top-five finishes in six starts at Indy, his highest percentage of top-five finishes at any track. Indy is one of 14 tracks (including North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, which is no longer on the schedule) where Kenseth has scored three or more top-five finishes in his career. He will drive a new car, RK-385, which was tested at Indianapolis during the July open test. "I enjoy racing at Indy," Kenseth said. "It's real fast but it's not banked much at all. It's the only flat track we go to where we can carry that type of speed through the turns. We've had good cars there before only to come up a little bit short. But, judging by the way we've run there the last few years, it could be a good track for us. The car we're bringing this time is a new one, so, even though we tested here a few weeks ago, it's important for us to get a lot of good practice time in on Friday and Saturday. Luckily, this weekend has a lot of practice sessions ... built into the schedule, so it should give us a good amount of time to get the car to where it needs to be on Sunday."
  • Last race: Kenseth finished 14th at Pocono.
  • Etc.: In the 2001 Brickyard 400, Kenseth completed only two laps, the lowest total of laps completed in his 240-race career.

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    3) Jeff Burton, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
  • This week: Burton continues his impressive comeback season heading into the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, where he finished 20th last season. Burton will race chassis No. 172 from the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) stable, a brand new car that was tested at Indianapolis in early July. "We had a really good test," Burton said. "I think the conditions were favorable. It was cloudy and cool, which is not typical for an Indy race. So I left there feeling really good about it but also understanding we could go back and conditions could be completely different. We'll have to readdress our setup if that is the case, but everyone is in the same boat. Generally, the Cingular Chevrolet drove well and the speed was there, so I feel very good about it." ... Burton has had 14 consecutive top-15 finishes dating to Texas in April, a streak that includes three top-fives and 11 top-10s. He has led a lap in six of the last 10 races and has scored more points than any other driver during that period. In addition, Burton has been running at the end of each of the 20 races this season. ... In addition to his driving duties with the No. 31 Cingular Chevrolet at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Burton, a 22-time race winner in the NASCAR Busch Series, will race RCR's No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet in the Kroger 200 on Saturday at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. His four races in that car this season have netted three top-five and four top-10 finishes.
  • Last race: Burton is coming off a ninth-place finish at Pocono two weeks ago. A part-time competitor in the Busch Series, he did not compete in Saturday night's Busch race at Gateway.
  • Etc.: Burton is one of 11 drivers on the 2006 entry list who have started every Brickyard 400. In 12 starts at Indy, Burton has one top-five and two top-10 finishes and has been running at the end of every event.

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    4) Kyle Busch, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: Busch finished 10th last year in his first Nextel Cup race at Indy but never held the lead in the race. He said the team's July test at the Brickyard was valuable for his return visit this weekend. "The sun wasn't really out, but the heat of the day wasn't what it's going to be when we go back there in August," he said. "It's kind of going to be a little tough to figure out exactly what we need to do in order to make ourselves better for when we go back, but the biggest thing is we finally got my car turning pretty well through the center. Then it was loose off the corner and I got loose and overcorrected and smacked the wall. Hopefully that's out of my system and we can go back and have an easy Brickyard 400."
  • Last race: Busch drove in the Busch 250 at Gateway on Saturday night, finishing eighth in the Busch Series race that celebrated the series' 25th season.
  • Etc.: Crew chief Alan Gustafson selected chassis No. 358 for Indianapolis. This is the same car Busch raced at Pocono earlier in the season en route to a 22nd-place finish. ... Busch's No. 5 Monte Carlo SS will carry a special paint scheme featuring the red and white Delphi oval. Indianapolis will mark the second of four appearances of the Delphi design this season.

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    5) Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
  • This week: What a difference a year has made for Harvick, who is fifth in the standings. One year ago he was 13th. Harvick, who has scored 11 top-10 finishes in 2006, has competed in five races at Indianapolis and has one pole, one victory (2003) and three top-10 finishes. He finished 19th in this race one year ago, his worst finish there, but has led in two of his five races at Indy and has been running at the finish in all five races.
  • Last race: Harvick finished fifth in the Busch Silver Celebration 250 at Gateway on Saturday night. He continues to lead the Busch standings by a whopping 318 points over Carl Edwards.
  • Etc.: Todd Berrier, crew chief for Harvick in the Nextel Cup Series, also will serve as crew chief for this weekend's Kroger 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park. Harvick hasn't raced at the renamed O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis since 2001. "I don't remember much," Harvick said. "I haven't been there in awhile. I do know they have installed safer barriers, so that will probably change how you drive the track. In the past, we would drive right up against the wall in the middle of the corners until they repaved the track. When they repaved it the racing groove moved down a little bit. Now, with the safer barriers, I anticipate the groove will move back up against the wall."

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    6) Mark Martin, No. 6 Ford, Roush Racing
  • This week: Martin has finished in the top 10 in eight of 11 starts at Indianapolis and in the top six five times. He has four top-five finishes in his 11 starts at Indy and has collected $1,853,997 in prize money. "I really enjoy racing at Indy and we have had some good runs there over the years," Martin said. "Indianapolis is a race track with a lot of history, and we would really love to go there and win this weekend. We had a pretty good test there a couple of weeks ago, and we are happy with the car that we are bringing back. We've run well at Indy the past few years, so hopefully we'll be able to build on that and run to a strong finish there this weekend." Martin is hoping to rebound from a minor slide that has dropped him out of the top five in the standings. "We gave up some points the last few weeks, so it would be nice to come out and have a solid finish and put a little more breathing room between us and 11th place as we head into the final stretch run before the cut-off point after 26 races," he said. "The team has shown a great deal of improvement over the past few weeks, especially on pit road. Now we just have to make sure our cars are running fast on a consistent basis and we should be OK down this stretch run."
  • Last race: Martin finished 19th at Pocono.
  • Etc.: Martin has won three IROC races at Indy (1998, '99 and 2000).

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    7) Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Dodge, Evernham Motorsports
  • This week: Kahne has finished in the top five in both of his starts at Indy, including a best of second last year. He has led 39 laps at Indianapolis, all in last year's race, and has completed all 321 of the laps during his two races at the track. He will be racing a new car, which was tested at the recent NASCAR-scheduled session at the track. "We were eighth or ninth fastest in testing, so I think we have things sorted out," Kahne said. "We had a good run at Indy last year, finishing second to Tony (Stewart). I know what the win meant to him. Having lived in Indy earlier in my career, I know what it would mean to me to win at the Brickyard. There are two races every driver wants to win -- the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and the Daytona 500."
  • Last race: Kahne finished 31st at Pocono.
  • Etc.: This is a homecoming of sorts for Kahne, who lived in Indianapolis when he was a USAC Sprint and Silver Crown competitor. In fact, he remains friends with IRL driver Ed Carpenter, another former USAC driver.

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    8) Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • This week: This will be Hamlin's first race at Indianapolis.
  • Last race: Kahne finished second in the Busch Series Silver Celebration 250 on Saturday night at Gateway. That came six days after he scored his second career Nextel Cup win at Pocono. With only two cautions throughout the night, all on the lead lap, cars were going to have to pit with roughly 20 to go in order to have enough fuel to finish. As the leaders' crew chiefs were contemplating the best strategy to end the race, laps continued to tick off. Finally at lap 178, Carl Edwards was the first to duck on pit road for a two-tire stop. As other pit strategies played out, the No. 20 car remained on the track until lap 187, when Hamlin pitted for a fuel-only stop. After just a splash of gas, Hamlin returned to the track with a six-second lead, but lapped traffic and the two tires of Edwards proved to be too much and Hamlin was forced to surrender the lead on lap 194. Hamlin would lose one more position on the final lap and come home in third. "I feel like we gave one away tonight," Hamlin said after the race. "It is rare that you have a car this dominant, and when you do you want to make sure you drive into Victory Lane, although the last couple weeks we have seen the best car of the race pit too early and end up a lap down when the caution comes out. But this was some of the best racing I have had in a long time. Normally when a fast car passes you they just check out. But racing with Carl, it seemed like he would pass me and then I would catch him and pass him. It was some great racing."
  • Etc.: Hamlin is just 52 points ahead of 11th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. with six races left in the "Race to the Chase."

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    9) Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: If Gordon is able to "kiss the bricks" following Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, he will tie achievements set by two racing icons from different sides of the Atlantic. Gordon, a four-time Nextel Cup Series champion and four-time winner at Indianapolis, can match feats set by two seven-time champions this weekend. Michael Schumacher, the German who has won seven Formula 1 championships, won the U.S. Grand Prix at the famed speedway last month to become the first five-time winner in the speedway's 96-year history. "I've never felt like there's a real good comparison there," said Gordon. "As a kid growing up a fan of the Indianapolis 500 and realizing what Al Unser, Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt accomplished, I don't think you can compare that to what I've done or what Michael Schumacher has done. As much as I love this race and am glad that I've won here, I still don't compare those wins to what those guys have done in the Indy 500. "I look at the F1 race in the same manner. It's just a totally different event and totally different types of cars. I think that you have to take each series and compare everything to that series." Gordon can also tie seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt for career victories if he notches No. 76 Sunday. "Tying Dale would be a huge honor, although I'm sure he'd have a lot more than 76 if he were still with us today," Gordon said. "To me, Dale is the all-time great, certainly of those I've had the chance to race against. The thing that I admired so much about him is the fact that he won over so many different years with cars changing, the sport changing and different drivers coming in and out of the sport. With all those changes, he always found a way to get to Victory Lane and battle for championships. I think when you look at the span of time that he was able to do that, that's very impressive. And to be just one away from something he's done is an accomplishment." Along with his four wins at the 2.5-mile track, Gordon, who will celebrate his 35th birthday Friday, has three poles, seven top-fives and 10 top-10s in 12 starts. "I think that Indy is more of a personal thing for me because I grew up as a kid watching the Indy 500 and going to that race," said Gordon. "Growing up in this area, there's just something about this place. The Brickyard is a big, big event for me and this DuPont team. My wins here have been some of the most amazing moments of my career. Whether it's your first win or your fourth, a win at The Brickyard is incredible. And I'd love to get another one."
  • Last race: Gordon's third-place finish at Pocono helped him stay in the top 10 in the point standings.
  • Etc.: Gordon will run a "Heat Waves and Flames" DuPont Hot Hues custom-colored paint scheme, designed by Chip Foose, during the 400-miler.

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    10) Tony Stewart, No. 20 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • This week: The defending winner of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is hoping another solid run at the 2.5-mile oval will catapult him higher in the top 10 of the point standings with the cutoff for the Chase looming just six races off. Stewart started 22nd in last year's race but fought his way to the front to lead for 44 laps and score what he called the biggest victory of his career. Stewart, who grew up 45 minutes from Indianapolis in the towns of Rushville and Columbus, has led 280 laps in his 15 Indianapolis starts (12.5 percent of a possible 2,241 laps). He has led 150 laps in a Nextel Cup car, placing him fourth in laps led at Indianapolis among Nextel Cup drivers, 122 in an Indy car and eight in an IROC car.
  • Last race: Stewart finished seventh at Pocono.
  • Etc.: Stewart also competed in five Indianapolis 500s and had a best finish of fifth in 1997.

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    11) Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Inc.
  • This week: Earnhardt has only one top-10 finish in six starts at the Brickyard and finished last in last year's race there, but he believes he is headed for a strong run this weekend. "We had the quickest car on our test day at Indy, so we feel pretty confident we're going in there with a setup that can run up front," Earnhardt said. "We've been pretty strong at some tracks this year where we haven't shown much in the past. I have a feeling we're going to do the same at Indy."
  • Last race: Earnhardt and his team needed the weekend off after two consecutive 43rd-place finishes dropped them out of the top 10. "We've had two terrible results, but you can't dwell on it," Earnhardt said. "You have to put it behind you and look forward. We can't afford any more mistakes or finishes like that, but I have a team capable of coming back."
  • Etc.: On Aug. 10, Earnhardt will be the first NASCAR driver to appear as an in-studio guest on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," the Emmy Award-winning news program. The show airs at 11 p.m. (EDT) with repeats throughout the following day.

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    12) Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Racing
  • This week: Biffle has one top-10 finish in three races at Indy, and he is optimistic that he can add to that total this weekend. "We're taking our best car to Indy," said Biffle. "This car has been good to us at all of the bigger tracks this year and I feel comfortable taking it to Indy this weekend. We had a really good run at Indy in 2006 (finishing sixth), and if we can duplicate that run or come out of there with a top-five finish, I'll be happy."
  • Last race: Biffle, who finished 24th at Pocono, is only 44 points out of the top 10 in the point standings and 82 points from seventh.
  • Etc.: Biffle rates a win at Indianapolis as No. 2 on his wish list. "I'd certainly like to win a Daytona 500," he said. "I've been able to win in July (at Daytona) in the 400, but the Brickyard would certainly be a race that I'd be very excited about. I'd like to get a win in my career there, but the facts are that we don't run as well on flatter race tracks like that."

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    13) Kurt Busch, No. 2 Dodge, Penske Racing South
  • This week: In five starts at Indy, Busch has three top-10 finishes, including a fifth in 2001. Busch knows he needs another top-10 run to keep alive his hopes of making the Chase. "There is still plenty of time to get it done with six races remaining," said Busch, who trails 10th-place Tony Stewart by 166 points. "Matt Kenseth was 213 (points) out with six to go last season and they pulled it off."
  • Last race: After finishing second at Pocono, Busch got married on July 27 and spent his honeymoon on a "deserted island somewhere." When he returns to the track on Friday, Busch hopes to continue his run of top qualifying performances. He has qualified in the top 10 in 14 of the 20 races this year and has yet to qualify outside the top 20. "I've seen what a great team morale builder qualifying up front can be," said Busch, who has won two poles in 2006.
  • Etc.: As far as Busch is concerned, the second half of the season doesn't begin until the series goes back to Michigan later this month. "This is especially true for a first-year team (like his) looking to go back to the same tracks a second time around," said Busch. "The big thing about it is that there are only four races left to draw from past experience and put together a solid run toward making the Chase -- Michigan, Bristol, California and Richmond."

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    14) Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford, Roush Racing
  • This week: Edwards finished 12th in his Indianapolis debut a year ago. He'll be running in the USAC race on Thursday and the Busch Series race on Saturday in addition to the Allstate 400. "I am really looking forward to all the racing this weekend in Indy," he said.
  • Last race: Edwards passed Denny Hamlin with nine laps to go Saturday and went on to win the Busch Silver Celebration 250 at Gateway International Raceway. It was Edwards' second win in the last three Busch Series races and his third of the season. "This means so much to win right here in front of all these people I know," said Edwards, who was born in Columbia, Mo., about a two-hour drive from the track. "I've never been that excited to win a race."
  • Etc.: Crew chief Wally Brown said Indianapolis is a "very technical track to set up for, but a track that provides a challenge to both the driver and team. The perfect setup is exactly what you need to run well at Indy. There is so much history at a track like Indy that to win would be a huge accomplishment for me and the entire Office Depot team."

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    15) Casey Mears, No. 42 Dodge, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
  • This week: Mears holds the track qualifying record for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard with a lap of 186.293 miles per hour, which he set in 2004. His best finish in three starts at Indy is sixth in 2005. "There is no place where I want to win more at than Indy," said Mears. "It has always been a dream of mine to win there."
  • Last race: Mears, who was 23rd at Pocono, said the weekend off was what his team needed. "Now we can spend the rest of the year trying to get that first win."
  • Etc.: Even though he is leaving the team at the end of the season, Mears said his goals for 2006 have not changed. "We're all in this to try to make that Chase and win races because we know that it's going to benefit everybody," said Mears. "Obviously, if I can make the Chase and win races it makes me look better. We're all working hard -- harder than we ever would have to try to have good races, win some races and make the Chase."

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    16) Brian Vickers, No. 25 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: Vickers finished third in last year's Brickyard 400, only his second start at Indy. In the last seven races, Vickers had posted seven consecutive top-20 finishes, including two top-fives, to vault from 25th to 16th in the standings. In those seven races, Vickers has accumulated the ninth-most points.
  • Last race: Vickers was fourth at Pocono. "We ran strong everywhere in July and probably should have had some better finishes than we did," said Vickers. "We've come a long way in the points, and I don't think we're done yet. For a long time we've tried to establish consistency, and I think we're there."
  • Etc.: Vickers said Indy is a tough track to get a handle on because "it's a square with four quick, sharp turns. What I think a lot of people underestimate is how different each turn is. People talk about how hard Pocono is to set up for with its three different turns, but in my opinion Indy can be even more of a challenge with its four different turns."

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    17) Jamie McMurray, No. 26 Ford, Roush Racing
  • This week: McMurray has two top-10 finishes in three starts at Indy, including a third in his first race at the track. "We tested there a few weeks ago and found some areas where we felt we could improve," said McMurray. "Bob (Osborne, crew chief) and the guys implemented a lot of new changes back at the shop for this weekend's race. I am pretty excited to go back to a track where I have had some really good finishes."
  • Last race: McMurray, who finished 20th at Pocono, hopes the week off will "turn things around. Hopefully we can leave Indy this weekend with a top-five finish, maybe even end up in Victory Lane.
  • Etc.: McMurray will moonlight as a taxi driver on Thursday night in Indianapolis as part of Crown Royal's "Safe Rides Home" program. McMurray will be driving one of a fleet of replica purple and gold No. 26 Ford Fusion cars that will offer local bar patrons a free, safe ride home. They can sign up at a special Crown Royal No. 26 taxi stand.

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    18) Ryan Newman, No. 12 Dodge, Penske Racing South
  • This week: Newman has never started a race at Indy outside of the top 10, but his finishes at the famed facility have not been as kind to the Indiana native. In five starts, Newman has one top-10 finish and an 11th. His other three finishes have all been 31st or worse. Newman led three laps in his first start at Indy (2001), and he led 11 laps in 2003. "For the Indiana racers, this is our home track and one we all want to win," he said.
  • Last race: Newman was 18th at Pocono.
  • Etc.: Newman said the car the team will be running this weekend "has been pretty good for us this year. We had a good run going at Pocono two weeks ago, but we had some things go against us that put us behind late in the race to the point where we weren't able to get back to the front in time. The car qualified really well last time (second), and we're hoping to continue with that and bring home a victory for this team as well."

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    19) Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
  • This week: Bowyer will be making his first Nextel Cup start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He said he relies on his teammates "a lot" whenever he goes to a track for the initial time. "Jeff Burton has 17 Cup victories and has been in this sport for a long time," said Bowyer. "Kevin Harvick is a little closer to my age and speaks a little more of my language. The more we get through this season I find myself going to Jeff a lot. I'm just fortunate to have two good teammates that I can pull off of if I need to."
  • Last race: Bowyer finished second Saturday night at Gateway, his third consecutive runner-up finish in the Busch Series. Bowyer has put together five straight top-10 finishes to move to third in the Busch Series standings, 387 points back of teammate Kevin Harvick.
  • Etc.: Bowyer stands second in the rookie of the year standings, 48 points behind Denny Hamlin (223-175). Bowyer has been the top-finishing rookie in three races this season. He hopes to become the 11th rookie to earn a top-10 finish at Indy.

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    20) Elliott Sadler, No. 38 Ford, Robert Yates Racing
  • This week: Sadler is the defending polesitter of the Allstate 400 but has only one top-10 finish (a third in 2004) in seven starts at Indy. He has led 71 laps in the last two Cup races at the 2.5-mile facility.
  • Last race: After Sadler stumbled to 32nd at Pocono, crew chief Tommy Baldwin was released from his contract so he could return to Bill Davis Racing as director of competition. Cully Barraclough will serve as interim crew chief on the 38 team. Barraclough has previously served as a crew chief in the Busch Series for Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin.
  • Etc.: Despite all the turmoil, Doug Yates said he is "really encouraged about what the future holds" for the team. "We had a lot of responsibility as team owners because we provide for a lot of families and they provide for us. When you can look them in the eye and say, 'Good things are happening,' and really believe that, then that's a great feeling. It's hard to walk around and hide what you really feel."

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    21) Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Chevrolet, DEI
  • This week: Truex will be making his second Cup start at Indy. "We qualified for the Brickyard 400 last year, and that was a pretty big thing to the whole team," he said. "Unfortunately, our day ended short when we got caught up in a wreck with our teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., which ended our day early. This year we want to run all 400 miles."
  • Last race: Truex hopes the weekend off didn't hurt the momentum the team received from its 10th-place finish at Pocono. "Our finish at Pocono couldn't have come at a better time," said Truex. "The team needed it and I needed it. It lifted everyone's spirit. The best part is it showed this team can do the good things and do them right. Nextel Cup racing is so much different than Busch racing and it just takes laps and time to build your level of experience and knowledge."
  • Etc.: Truex points out that "all the greats have won" at Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- "Unser, Mears, Foyt, Earnhardt -- the names are legendary. If we could win at Indy, man, what a great place to get our first Nextel Cup win."

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    22) Scott Riggs, No. 10 Dodge, Evernham Motorsports
  • This week: Riggs has finished 35th and 37th in his two starts at Indy, while teammate Kasey Kahne has finished second and fourth in his two races at the 2.5-mile facility. Riggs plans to follow Kahne's setup in hopes that will allow him to crack the top 10 in Sunday's race.
  • Last race: Riggs was 22nd at Pocono.
  • Etc.: Riggs is a fan of the "Car of Tomorrow" after testing it earlier this season. "This car drives and handles pretty well," said Riggs. "The rear wing is going to be a big help. It gives you a lot of adjustability. We made some adjustments with the wing (during the test) that allowed us to run a lot better (than the first day of the test)."

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    23) Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Dodge, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
  • This week: Sorenson will be making his first Nextel Cup start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and he said "it ranks right up there with my first Daytona 500. The track is world renowned, and racing there means you've reached the highest level in whatever form of racing you are competing in. To actually get a win there would put me in a category with some of the best racers there are."
  • Last race: Sorenson finished fourth in the Busch Series race at Gateway, his third top-five Busch finish of the season.
  • Etc.: Sorenson posted the fastest lap in testing at Indy last month with a lap of 181.892 miles per hour. "We had a really strong test there a couple of weeks ago, and hopefully we'll be one of the better cars when we unload on Friday morning," said the rookie driver. "I'm very excited about this weekend's race and I'm anxious to get on the track."

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    24) Bobby Labonte, No. 43 Dodge, Petty Enterprises
  • This week: Labonte is one of five full-time active drivers who have won the Brickyard 400. Labonte "kissed the bricks" in 2000, the same year he won the Winston Cup championship. In 12 starts at the famed facility, Labonte has five top-10 finishes, including four top-fives. "It's a great feeling to win (the Brickyard 400)," said Labonte. "They (wins) are so hard to get, but when you win at Indianapolis it's pretty special."
  • Last race: Labonte enjoyed a "quiet weekend off" after finishing eighth at Pocono. "We want to ride that momentum into Indy," said Labonte. "Pocono can help you get ready for Indy, but we're bringing a different car than we raced at Pocono. It's going to be even better and we feel pretty good about that."
  • Etc.: Labonte said "you just have to have a great day" to win at Indy. "The car has to be perfect, pit stops have to be perfect and your race strategy has to be perfect. This is a big track and it's tough to pass. It (winning the race) has a lot to do with track position and where you are with 20 or 30 laps to go. You have to be in position to win."

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    25) Dale Jarrett, No. 88 Ford, Robert Yates Racing
  • This week: Jarrett is one of only two drivers to score multiple wins in the Brickyard 400. Jeff Gordon is the other one, with four. Jarrett's two wins came in 1996 and 1999. In 12 starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jarrett has five top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Jarrett is second on the all-time money won list at Indy with winnings of $3,011,815. Jarrett will make his 400th consecutive Cup start in the 400.
  • Last race: Butch Hylton will assume crew chief duties for the 88 UPS Racing team in an interim capacity beginning with the Brickyard 400. Hylton replaces Slugger Labbe, who was released from his position during the off weekend after Jarrett was 28th at Pocono.
  • Etc.: Jarrett said "you can't help but be a little awestruck anytime you get to Indy. I had never seen a race at Indy before I had the opportunity to race there and really didn't know what to expect. Whenever you drive out onto the track, it's just a different feeling than a lot of other places that we've been to for a lot of years -- even though we've been here now for 12 years. The stands on both sides of the frontstretch make it seem even better."

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    Tagged: Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Scott Riggs, Reed Sorenson, Dale Jarrett, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Casey Mears, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart

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