Ryan Newman and David Stremme grew up in South Bend, Ind., and Tony
Raines is from Laporte, which is west of South Bend.
All three drivers are geared up for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the
Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and claim there is more to
life in northern Indiana than Notre Dame athletics.
"It's always been known for Notre Dame football and basketball,
whatever it is," Stremme said. "Auto racing in that area is strong.
You can go race different tracks, and it's tough. That's what helped
me be able to move on and get the experience I needed to compete at this level.
"Ryan and I grew up only three miles away from each other. He was
open-wheel racing. I was stock car racing. We went to school together.
Tony Raines (13 years older than Newman and Stremme) actually raced
with my parents when I was a little kid running around the track. I got to watch him race."
In six career starts at the Brickyard, Newman has only one top-10
finish, a fourth-place showing in 2002. Jimmie Johnson and Tony
Stewart won the last two Brickyard events with each going on to win that year's Nextel Cup points race.
NASCAR fans in Colorado are hoping there is value to that familiar
adage that no news is good news.
International Speedway Corp. revealed in February that it was
looking at sites in the Denver metro area to build a NASCAR facility.
Two months ago, ISC informed Commerce City that it had eliminated
from consideration a possible site near the Reunion residential
development west of Denver International Airport.
Nothing has been heard from ISC since then.
"Just because you are not hearing anything doesn't mean there is
not interest," ISC executive Wes Harris said this week. "We are
definitely very interested in the Denver market. We're going to take
our time through this process."
ISC has talked with the Schuck Corp., the lead developer of the
TransPort cargo-distribution hub, about the possibility of a track
being built on the project's land in eastern Aurora near Front Range Airport.
"They have been looking at a number of sites, and TransPort would
be included in that," TransPort executive vice president Jeff Whiton
said. "I wish they would make a selection, but I guess they have
their process they need to go through."
Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Kyle Busch, remembers creating
his favorite Indianapolis memory two years ago, and it had nothing to
do with the race. "We heard there were old bricks -- original ones --
in a stream on the back side of the track," he said. "So we went out
there, waded into some water about knee deep and fished out some
bricks. I'm sure we weren't supposed to be there, but the bricks are
so cool. I have my brick on the mantel in my house, and I'm waiting to
mount my ring from my first Brickyard win on it."