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Johnson, Gordon pace Allstate 400 practice

Sprint Cup Series
Friday, July 25, 2008


Jimmie Johnson drives back to the garage after posting the quickest lap of the day during practice
Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR
Hendrick Motorsports teammates and former Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winners Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon finished one-two in the speed rankings during practice Friday, July 25 for this year's annual NASCAR classic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Johnson, the 2006 race winner, was the first driver to break the 180-mph mark on the day and turned a top lap of 180.047 in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet. Gordon, the only four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner, ran 180.007 in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.

The practices were crucial for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, as it was the first time the entire field has taken to the challenging 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in NASCAR's new-generation Sprint Cup car.

"It's going to be tough, there's no doubt about it," said Chad Knaus, crew chief for Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet Impala SS. "Right now the track is real abrasive until we get some rubber laid down on the racetrack, so it's not a very good indication of what we're going to have on Sunday. In single-lap runs, the car is fine. When we get out there with a lot of other people it's going to be difficult to pass, typical of what we see here. But the Lowe's Chevrolet is running great. I'm really excited about it."

South Bend, Ind., native Ryan Newman was third-fastest in the No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge at 179.723, Elliott Sadler led the first session but was fourth overall at 179.190 in the No. 19 Stanley Dodge and Kasey Kahne was fifth in the No. 9 Budweiser/LifeLock Dodge at 179.075.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying is scheduled for 10:10 a.m. (ET) Saturday, July 26, with two afternoon practices set for 2-3 p.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m.

The Miller Lite Rock N Racing concert featuring The Goo Goo Dolls will take place from 4:45-6 p.m. at the Miller Lite Stage located in the IMS infield behind the Hall of Fame Museum.

The 15th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Sunday.



1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 180.047 49.987 Leader
2 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 180.007 49.998 -0.011
3 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Alltel 179.723 50.077 -0.090
4 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser / LifeLock 179.076 50.258 -0.271
5 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 178.934 50.298 -0.311
6 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Stanley 178.766 50.345 -0.358
7 10 Patrick Carpentier* Dodge Sears Auto Center / Valvoline 178.759 50.347 -0.360
8 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 178.724 50.357 -0.370
9 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 178.575 50.399 -0.412
10 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / AMP Energy 178.437 50.438 -0.451
11 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 178.356 50.461 -0.474
12 16 Greg Biffle Ford DISH Network / DishDVRs 178.260 50.488 -0.501
13 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 178.236 50.495 -0.508
14 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 178.211 50.502 -0.515
15 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet CARQUEST / Kellogg's 178.119 50.528 -0.541
16 6 David Ragan Ford AAA Insurance 177.837 50.608 -0.621
17 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 177.771 50.627 -0.640
18 70 Jason Leffler Chevrolet Hunt Brothers Pizza 177.567 50.685 -0.698
19 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Prilosec OTC 177.413 50.729 -0.742
20 84 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota Red Bull 177.392 50.735 -0.748
21 28 Travis Kvapil Ford Hitachi Power Tools 177.106 50.817 -0.830
22 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 176.974 50.855 -0.868
23 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Totino's Pizza Rolls 176.769 50.914 -0.927
24 42 Juan Montoya Dodge Big Red Slim Pack 176.744 50.921 -0.934
25 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 176.703 50.933 -0.946
26 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Cub Cadet 176.658 50.946 -0.959
27 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet State Water Heaters 176.654 50.947 -0.960
28 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 176.626 50.955 -0.968
29 38 David Gilliland Ford 176.523 50.985 -0.998
30 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 176.502 50.991 -1.004
31 00 Michael McDowell* Toyota Champion Mortgage 176.436 51.010 -1.023
32 77 Sam Hornish Jr.* Dodge Mobil 1 176.370 51.029 -1.042
33 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row/ 176.291 51.052 -1.065
34 20 Tony Stewart Toyota The Home Depot 176.212 51.075 -1.088
35 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Johns Manville / Menards 176.173 51.086 -1.099
36 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 176.132 51.098 -1.111
37 96 J.J. Yeley Toyota DLP HDTV 176.122 51.101 -1.114
38 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA AUTO PARTS 176.067 51.117 -1.130
39 21 Bill Elliott Ford Motorcraft 175.984 51.141 -1.154
40 44 David Reutimann Toyota UPS 175.953 51.150 -1.163
41 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet Johns Manville / Menards 175.476 51.289 -1.302
42 01 Regan Smith* Chevrolet Principal Financial Group 175.128 51.391 -1.404
43 45 Terry Labonte Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 174.971 51.437 -1.450
44 147 Marcos Ambrose Ford Little Debbie 174.263 51.646 -1.659
45 08 Johnny Sauter Dodge 172.692 52.116 -2.129
46 150 Stanton Barrett Chevrolet NOS Energy Drink 172.549 52.159 -2.172
47 34 Tony Raines Chevrolet 168.976 53.262 -3.275


KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge): "Practice was OK. We worked a little bit on our race setup, and the last hour we worked on our qualifying setup. So we hope tomorrow morning when everything is nice and cool, the engine gets all that power, that we'll have a great run. We go out pretty early in the morning. We got a new car, new tires. It's like roulette for a little while. You find your numbers and then you start betting with 'em. It's a tough game because you wish you still had the old car some days."

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser/Lifelock Dodge): "I'm pretty happy. We did a lot there. The weather changed some, and this track is really weather-sensitive. It was a good practice for us. We learned a lot. I think we'll definitely have a great shot at getting a pole here. We'll see what happens." (About reaching qualifying speeds): "I think this last practice, the majority of what you see is all preparation for qualifying tomorrow. We ended up fourth on there. The car wasn't doing exactly what we wanted, so if we make the right adjustments we'll have a really good shot at qualifying in the top five tomorrow." (About the learning curve with the new car): "It seemed fine in qualifying trim. We'll learn a lot more tomorrow afternoon as far as the race goes for Sunday. For qualifying, it drives pretty good. It drives really close to what I was expecting. It should be fun qualifying tomorrow. I look forward to it."
The track, the way you drive it and what you're looking for in your car is all relative, but as far as the setup it is much different. It is a much different race car. All teams are working on getting them better and better. The more time we have with the better the racing will get. It is still fun. The racing will keep getting better and better."

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge): "The car felt pretty good. I spent a lot of time in qualifying trim to try and make sure we get good track position just making sure we can get good track position to start the race on Sunday. I got a good qualifying draw. I'm going out second. That will be very advantageous for us tomorrow, as well. This race means something to me since it's in Indiana, but it means more to me that it's Indianapolis. It's Indy. It's the Brickyard. It's the home of the '500' and 100 years of automotive racing. So to me, that means the most. I think the track has been pretty consistent. Obviously, it's changed a little bit with the asphalt from the grinding, but in general, the way you drive and the way you race hasn't changed here, at least for me in the last eight years."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 21 Motorcraft Ford): "I think we gained a lot. I just feel like we were trying to fight the race track every little bit to get things going. We just need to keep hitting it some more. We've got to get a little better to get in this show." (What is the difference between last year's car and this year's car?): "If I closed my eyes, I really couldn't tell the difference. It's still the same Indy."

KEVIN HARVICK (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet): "We had a great practice. The car has been good since we unloaded. The driver needs to get a little extra out of it tomorrow. I'm really proud of these Shell guys, and we'll see what happens tomorrow." ("Is this track as weather-sensitive as you see?"): "It is. Tomorrow, we have a late draw, so I don't think it is going to be hotter than it is right now. I don't think it will be any worse than it is right now."

JEFF BURTON (No. 31 Prilosec OTC Chevrolet): "We're off a little bit. We're not terrible, but we're not where we want to be. We'll take today's data and spend some time tonight to try to see if we can make it better, but I think we're OK. We're not great, but we're OK."

REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target Dodge): "Well, it was OK. It's a different car here than we what we've ever had here before, so we're just kind of learning with it. This hasn't been our strong point, that's for sure, with these bigger tracks. It wasn't very good in race trim. It was really, really tight, and then it was opposite in qualifying trim. So we're kind of struggling on trying to find a smooth balance with it, but I think we should be able to put down a decent lap tomorrow. We really had a good car last year, but it's a totally different game now. We've been kind of struggling with these type tracks, so this is one of our toughest places. The faster the track, it seems like the more we struggle." (Anything you can use from the data from last year?): "Not really, not other than just maybe some air pressure. But as far as setup goes, it's way different."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge): (About his spin in Turn 1): "I don't know, man. It's a lot different, that's for sure. That, and I never got a chance to run this car here, so I didn't know what to expect. It didn't disappoint me. It's a lot different. It's interesting. I felt like we learned a lot and gained a lot throughout the two sessions. We made ourselves better. Obviously, we're not where we want to be at yet, but I feel like we're heading in the right direction. We'll just keep working at it, and I'm real happy that the Mobil 1 guys worked real hard to make sure that we got the maximum amount of time today, and here we are." (About his setup balance for qualifying): "Not a good enough one, but we definitely found something. We're heading in the right direction, and we kind of gained time every time we went out there. We just needed some more practice. That's about it." (About the new car at IMS): "Coming here for me, my first time on the track. My first time in
  these cars on the track, and it's a ton different, that's for sure. I think the big thing for us, for sure, is that we just wanted to spend as much time and get as many laps as we could. Tires are kind of an issue, too, just because the track does kind of eat up the tires here pretty quick. You know we've got four hours of practice and eight sets of tires to do it on, and that's pretty hard when you get about five laps out of a set, so you have to be pretty smart with that, too, as far as that goes." (About how IMS compares to Pocono): "I don't know. I'm about as frustrated here as I was at Pocono, but, with the exception of one year, which is 2006, I didn't leave here without being frustrated, so I'm pretty used to being at IMS and having those problems. But I think we can get it to the end of the race. A good strategy, good pit stops is really going to be the key for us. It's always feels good to be here, and it's been real nice to be back."

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet): "I got to tell you, my horsepower is unbelievable. I couldn't believe it when I got in there today. I got to thank the engine department. This is the kind of place where it really shows up."

CARL EDWARDS (No. 99 AFLAC Ford): "I think this AFLAC Fusion is going to be fast. It's better than I thought it was going to be here. The cars handle pretty well." (What is the difference between last year's car and this year's car?): "I thought it would be a lot more different. It's not that bad. They took those rumble strips, which makes it a lot easier to be aggressive in the corner and not worry about hitting that splitter on the ground. That's the thing I was really worried about, but it's good."

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