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IROC Atlanta Thursday Pit Notes

Hampton, GA (Oct. 27, 2005) - 2005 Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series competitors Mark Martin, Helio Castroneves and Kurt Busch took initial practice runs during Thursday's on track sessions in preparation for this Saturdays final round of the 2005 Crown Royal IROC Series.

Martin was pleased with the set up on the Crown Royal IROC cars after the practice session, which included two-time Champ Car World Series Champion, Sebastien Bourdais and the 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice of the IRL IndyCar Series. Martin said, "Dave Marcis, Jim and Jay Sauter have done a great job in setting up the cars for our final race here at Atlanta. Everything felt very good, I'm really looking forward to it and I think we're all set to go." Martin will clinch a record fifth career IROC championship when he takes the green flag on Saturday. His day will end celebrating in victory lane with the Crown Royal IROC Championship worth $1- million dollars.

Helio Castroneves arrived after finally making his way out of Miami due to restricted travel in the aftermath of hurricane Wilma. "I finally made it here today, said Castroneves. "I wanted to be here sooner but was held up due to the problems with the hurricane. But, the good news is, we came through it okay, except for not having any power. But at least things are going good here today at Atlanta. I learned a few things in the session this morning and hope to be able to run a little longer in the race this year than last year. Last year I was tapped in the rear, which took me out of competition. Hopefully, this year will be different and I can move to the front and do what I have been waiting to do, win my first Crown Royal IROC race."

The reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch said, "Last year at Atlanta I had so much fun in the IROC race and I anticipate that this year will equal that, or be even better based on the way the cars are feeling today. It's a mile and a half here, but it feels like a two and a half mile track with the way these cars draft. It's like Daytona with a big draft, yet it's a smaller racetrack, so you're busy all the time. You have to always keep track of where the other guys are because even though it's every man for himself, you have to work with the other guys to pass. It's almost too much fun here in IROC, it's going to be a blast."

Final driver practice for the 2005 Crown Royal IROC season finale will take place on Friday. The Saturday race action will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel at 1:30 p.m. ET.



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