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Final IROC Practice Wraps Up at Talladega

Talladega, AL (April 4, 2003) Final practice sessions for round two of the True Value IROC Series took place on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. The final practice sessions were hopping as nine of the 12 drivers took practice laps including NASCAR Winston Cup representatives, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin, and Jimmy Johnson, along with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion, Mike Bliss.

The IRL IndyCar Series had full representation with Sam Hornish, Helio Castroneves and Felipe Giaffone. Joining the open wheel contingent was O'Reilly World of Outlaws driver, Danny Lasoski who has been at Talladega since the True Value IROC Series haulers pulled into the garage area last Sunday.

Completing the field of 12, NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Kurt Busch, NASCAR Busch Series Champion, Greg Biffle and World of Outlaws driver Steve Kinser have also practiced in the IROC cars throughout the week.

IndyCar Series driver Hornish said, "The practice went fine. Just a little bit more learning, figuring out what the car is like, and the best way to use the draft to your advantage. The rest is up to a little bit of luck, who works with you and who doesn't work with you, those types of things. There's only so much you're going to learn out there practicing and the rest you've got to learn racing."

Ryan Newman and Helio Castroneves qualify as teammates, of sorts, as they both drive for team owner Roger Penske. Newman said, "The cars are very stable and are feeling really good. I am looking forward to this race because it has always proven to be very competitive at Talladega, and I'm really looking forward to drafting with Helio again."

Castroneves and Giaffone jokingly challenged their IROC race tutors, Dick Trickle and Jim Sauter to a dual to the finish. The veteran IROC test drivers were proud of their work at the end of the session.

Sauter said, "We could see how much better they (Castroneves and Giaffone) are doing. They were setting Dick (Trickle) and I up in various scenarios where earlier in the week they were more apt to draft in line. Now they're moving around all over the track hunting for ways to make their way to the front. Learning this drafting deal, you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run and it's just a matter of putting in laps. We're tickled to death to see Giaffone, Castroneves, Hornish, Lasoski and Kinser spending a lot of time with us and working hard to be competitive against the drivers that do this type of racing all the time. It gives us all gratification to see them run in the race rather than walk."

Round two of the True Value IROC Series will take the green flag on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CST at Talladega Superspeedway and will be broadcast on Sunday, April 12 at 1:00 p.m. EDT on ESPN.

 

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