Roush Leads First Indy Tests

Roush Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth served notice that they will contend for victory in the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard by posting the fastest laps in private testing July 11 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Biffle turned the fastest lap of the day at 181.963 mph in the No. 16 National Guard Ford. Kenseth was just .22 of a mph slower at 181.742 in the No. 17 DeWalt Tools Ford.

Roush Racing's Kurt Busch was fastest in two days of testing last week at 180.208.

Biffle sits second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points, but he said the team's approach to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will not change despite its comfortable position heading into the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

"We come here to win," he said. "We're going to be as focused as we can and as conscious of everything that's going on as we can. We're pretty happy with the test so far today, and we're just going to continue to do what we can do."

Rounding out the top five were Ken Schrader in the No. 49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge at 181.727, Robby Gordon in fourth at 181.722 in the No. 7 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet and Elliott Sadler at 181.495 in the No. 38 M&M's Ford.

Sadler took Biffle's thoughts about the upcoming Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, Aug. 7, a step further by saying that all bets are off come the first weekend of August.

"The guys that are up front (in the Chase) are ones that are being consistent," he said. "We're not going to take any big chances, until we come to Indy because Indy's in a league of it's own as far as trying to win the race.

"Do the math: How many teams are out here testing? This is not just another race on the schedule, I don't think. The George family does such a great job promoting it. We have more fans here than anywhere else we race. It's a lot of prestige that comes with running here, and you ask any team that's won here how much fun it was and how much emphasis they put on it. I know our team spends just as much time preparing a car here as it does for the Daytona 500 because it just means so much."

2003 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard champion Kevin Harvick knows how much fun it was to win at Indianapolis, and reflected on the memories of winning from the pole two years ago.

"The thing I remember the most about winning here was taking the victory lap after the race, seeing all the fans that stayed over and just letting it all sink in after Victory Lane and kissing the bricks," Harvick said. "To share that moment with (wife) DeLana and (owner) Richard (Childress) and take it all in for a nice, slow victory lap around the track was probably the most memorable thing of the weekend. We put a lot of effort into this race, so everybody was pretty pumped up. This is where you bring your next generation of motors, usually, and your best car, and hopefully you bring your 'A' game."

Weather forecasts call for the remnants of Hurricane Dennis to bring heavy rain to Indianapolis over the next several days, so the 23 NEXTEL Cup Series drivers and teams on hand at IMS took advantage of cloudy but dry skies – save for a few afternoon sprinkles – to turn a total of 1,988 laps on the 2.5-mile oval. Boris Said, who will attempt to qualify for his first Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, turned the most laps of any driver with 137.

Testing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12, with more testing July 18-19. Drivers scheduled to participate next week include former Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winners Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott, Indiana native Tony Stewart, former USAC standout Kasey Kahne, Indiana native Tony Raines and Dale Earnhardt Jr., winner of the NEXTEL Cup Series race July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Fans are welcome to watch testing July 12, 18 and 19 from the South Terrace grandstands, located in the infield between Turns 1 and 2. Admission is free.

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