Daily Trackside Report - Friday, July 29

Friday, July 29, 2011

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            Welcome to the 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Brickyard 400 is the 20th race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Notes, quotes, trivia, historical information and other items will appear on these pages through Sunday, July 31. Our Media Center staff, headed by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Director of Public Relations Doug Boles, is here to assist you and answer your questions during this event.
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TODAY’S ON-TRACK SCHEDULE (all times local):
8 a.m.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway public gates open
1-2:15 p.m.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice
3:15-4:30 p.m.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice
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Timing and scoring monitors are located throughout the Media Center with up-to-the-minute times and speeds.
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            Brickyard 400 information is available on the World Wide Web this week on the official Indianapolis Motor Speedway site, http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, and the official NASCAR site, http://www.nascar.com. Included in the information will be practice summaries and performance histories, qualifying results, Daily Trackside Reports, driver quotes, race lineups and results.
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            Kyle Larson won the Kroger Speedfest USAC Mopar National Midget Championship race Thursday night at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
            Dillon Welch, son of ESPN NASCAR pit reporter Vince Welch, finished 10th.
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            Jeff Gordon could become just the second five-time winner of a major race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a victory Sunday in the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com.
            Michael Schumacher became the first five-time winner when he captured the 2006 United States Grand Prix. Schumacher won the USGP in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.
            Gordon is tied with four-time Indianapolis 500 winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears on the IMS win list. Gordon won the Brickyard 400 in 1994, 1998, 2001 and 2004. Foyt won the Indy 500 in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977; Unser won the “500” in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987. Mears won the “500” in 1979, 1984, 1988 and 1991.
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2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ned Jarrett will serve as the grand marshal of the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com.
            Jarrett won NASCAR Sprint Cup championships in 1961 and 1965 and 50 races during his illustrious career. He was named one of NASCAR’s “50 Greatest Drivers” in 1998.
            Besides his Hall of Fame driving talent, Jarrett also helped attract fans to NASCAR through his work as a television and radio broadcaster during three decades of substantial growth for the sport.
Jarrett’s son Dale won the Brickyard 400 in 1996 and 1999 and also claimed the Sprint Cup championship in 1999.
NED JARRETT: “It is a true honor to be selected as grand marshal for the Brickyard 400. The history of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its significance in auto racing makes this opportunity particularly special.”
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Two-time and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon and Ken Keltner of Herff-Jones presented the 2010 Brickyard 400 winner’s ring to Jamie McMurray this morning at a public ceremony on the Coca-Cola Stage.
            Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and this year.
            JAMIE McMURRAY: “This ring is really cool. At Daytona, they give you the ring right away, but it’s cool to come back the following year to get this ring here. I remember them sizing my finger for the ring last year. I called four or five months ago, and they said they would make it a special presentation this year. We only race here once a year, and that makes winning here even more special. The teams put so much into this race that it’s really special to win here. My win here last year was huge. For me, it was big because it wasn’t a (restrictor) plate track, and we had won four of my first races on plate tracks. The teams, the engine shop and the chassis shop, put so much work into this race. I’ve always liked coming to Indy. I told my wife when we landed last night that some tracks you’re not excited to be there. Indy is one of those places for me, whether we come here to test or for the race, there’s a lot of excitement when you land and you know you’re at Indianapolis. With the history of this track and how excited NASCAR was to come here in the ‘90s, this is one of two tracks that we want to win at. It’s different because it’s not a plate track, and the plate tracks, it takes help from someone else to win. When you win here, it’s just you and your team. It would be super-cool to win here again. It’s a real unique track and Juan (Mont