NASCAR Action Rocks Richmond
Matt Kenseth (#17 Ameriquest Ford) is continuing his strong run of late by leading the final practice for tonight's Emerson Radio 250. Matt¿s best lap of 21.348 seconds (126.476mph) was nearly 0.2 seconds faster than Chesterfield, VA native Denny Hamlin (#20 Rockwell Automotive Chevrolet). Hamlin will be looking to improve on his 3rd place standing in the championship point standings. NASCAR Busch Series championship point leader Kevin Harvick, winner of the last two Busch Series races at Richmond, posted the 7th fastest speed of 124.786mph.
Practice was interrupted when Auggie Vidovich lost control of his #4 GEICO/Denbeste Dodge and made contact with the SAFER Barrier. He was evaluated and released from the Anthem Infield Care Center.
Qualifying for tonight¿s Emerson Radio 250 will take place at 4:35pm. Other Virginia drivers looking to make the field are Ashton Lewis Jr. of Chesapeake (#25 United States Marines Ford), Hermie Sadler of Emporia, Jeff Burton of South Boston (#29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet), Jon Wood of Stuart (#47 Clorox/American Red Cross Ford), Danny O¿Quinn Jr. of Coeburn (#50 Stonebridge Life Ford), Kevin Grubb of Mechanicsville (#56 Western Sizzlin/TEREX Chevrolet) and Stacey Compton of Grit (#59 Kingsford/Bush¿s Baked Beans Ford)
Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Practice:
Kyle Busch (#5 Kellogg¿s Chevrolet), who has 5 top 5¿s and one win in 8 career NASCAR starts at Richmond International Raceway, set the fastest speed (125.517 mph) in practiced for tomorrow¿s Chevy Rock & Roll 400. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point leader Matt Kenseth, who led the way in Busch Series practice earlier in the day, had the second fastest speed at 125.482 mph.
South Boston, VA native Jeff Burton, who is on the bubble for the Race for the Chase had the 10th fastest speed. Kasey Kahne, winner of last weeks NASCAR NEXTEL Cup SONY HD 500 at California Speedway, who sits 11th in points, only 30 points out of 10th, had the 17th fastest speed. "Running well here in the last three races, with one win, this is a great race track for us," said an optimistic Kahne.
Defending Series Champion and two-time NEXTEL Cup Richmond race winner Tony Stewart will need to switch to his back up car for only the fourth time in his career following a crash early in practice. He spun in turn two, impacting the SAFER barrier on the outside retaining wall with the left side of the car. Stewart was unhurt in the incident.
FAS MART Pole Qualifying for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 will take place at 6:10 pm this eveing.
Drivers Love Richmond International Raceway:
Jimmy Johnson (#48 Lowe¿s Chevrolet):
¿I think from a fan¿s perspective, this is a great track to finish the season up at. It¿s very racy, with side-by-side racing, a little bump and grind, push and shove¿
Jeff Burton (#31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet):
¿I think it¿s awesome. I think this race track is the fitting place for it. I can¿t imagine a better place to have the last race before the Chase. This is a classic, NASCAR race, with short track action, side-by-side racing. To me, this is as good as racing gets. One of two things should happen here. The Championship should end here, or this Chase should end here because it¿s such a high drama place with a lot of energy and a lot of excitement. I think it¿s a cool place to go. I think it¿s THE BEST place we go to.¿
Jeff Gordon (#24 Dupont Chevrolet):
¿It¿s a great track. It¿s a track where we see a lot of side-by-side racing. We¿ve always seen some of the best racing action that we see all year long. I think it¿s a great place to have the last Race for the Chase."