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Winston Cup Series




Sunday, August 4

Brickyard battle just the latest
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- The feud continues.

Kurt Busch, who bumped Jimmy Spencer out of his way to win at Bristol Motor Speedway in March, spun into the wall after he was tapped from behind by Spencer early in Sunday's Brickyard 400.

Busch
Kurt Busch wasn't happy with Jimmy Spencer after wrecking.

"I shouldn't have been back there in the first place," said Busch, who began 38th as a provisional starter after spinning in Saturday's qualifications. "We should have just qualified up front, and that wouldn't have put us with that decrepit old has-been."

After hitting the wall in Turn 3, Busch climbed out and waited next to his car until Spencer came around again, raising his arms in frustration as the No. 41 drove by under caution. Busch, who finished 41st, then crossed the track toward the inside groove and gestured angrily at Spencer as he came by again.

"I wanted to see him black-flagged," Busch said. "I pointed to my butt and wanted him sent to the rear."

In March, Busch called his bump of Spencer a payback for last season when Spencer knocked him out of a race at Phoenix.

He said Sunday's bump by Spencer was no surprise.

"Really, he's so hardheaded," Busch said. "It's pretty bad when he goes and calls out that he's going to smash back and then does it at a 200 mph race track. ... That's what old decrepit has-beens like Jimmy Spencer do, and it's unfortunate that we cleared him getting into Turn 3, which made us vulnerable, and he dumped us."

Spencer, who fell a lap behind the leaders and finished 31st, denied hitting Busch intentionally.

"I don't know if something broke on his car or what. He just slowed down immediately and I bumped him," Spencer said. "I sure didn't mean to do it."

Then he added, "I think Kurt has a lot to learn, and some of that is to control his mouth."

After the race, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Busch and Spencer and their respective team owners, Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi, will have to meet with NASCAR officials next Friday before being allowed on the racetrack at Watkins Glen International.

Soft walls
The first test of Indy's new energy-absorbing "soft wall" barrier in a NASCAR race came on the 12th lap, when Mike Wallace cut his right front tire, went into the outside wall and slid back across the track into Brett Bodine's car coming out of the second turn.

Neither driver was hurt.

"I guess I'm glad I hit that, because it hit a ton just then. I'm glad it was there," said Wallace, who finished 43rd.

"I'm sorry for Brett because he had nothing to do with the wreck. He was behind it," Wallace said. "We were under wide open throttle, so it hit awful hard."

Bodine's brother, Geoffrey, also left the race in a crash on the 52nd lap. The rear of his car went loose in Turn 1 as he made a half-spin into the outside wall and caromed across the track into the inside wall. He was not injured.

"I wish I could tell you I could feel a difference, but it felt pretty darn hard," Geoffrey Bodine said of the new steel and foam barrier. "We'll look at the car and see if we can tell any difference there with the crash."

Streak continues
Jeff Gordon, a three-time winner and defending Brickyard 400 champion, extended his streak to 29 straight races without a victory.

Running as high as sixth early in the race, Gordon dropped to 23rd and appeared to be struggling before a 6-second pit stop under the yellow -- for fuel only -- moved him up to second with fewer than 60 laps to go. Within the next three laps, however, he began dropping back again because of the car's handling.

Gordon, who turned 31 on Sunday, finished sixth, 6.7 seconds behind winner Bill Elliott.

More counterfeits
At least several counterfeit Tower Suite and general admission tickets were sold by scalpers on 16th Street in the downtown area before the race, Indianapolis police reported.

There was no indication how many fake tickets were sold on Sunday. More than 500 counterfeit tickets were confiscated by police before Saturday's IROC race.

"People need to beware of these counterfeit tickets because they will not be honored at the gate," Speedway spokesman Fred Nation said. "While it is legal to resell tickets in Indiana, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has no control over them and cannot guarantee their authenticity. ...

"Genuine tickets have a silver embossed Brickyard logo at the top and bricks with embossed lines near the bottom, both of which can be felt," Nation said. "Counterfeit tickets most likely do not have the embossments."

Blocking battle
NASCAR is considering monitoring blocking during the October race at Talladega Superspeedway and could punish drivers who intentionally prevent passing.

"It's gotten to be that the larger crashes have been caused by blocking," Winston Cup director John Darby said Sunday. "So we're starting by looking at what is a block because cars change lanes all the time and we have to figure out what the parameters are."

There was heavy blocking in both races at Daytona International Speedway this season and the April event at Talladega, but NASCAR said it had no way to police the practice.

So officials are now in discussion as to what they can do, and Darby said it's possible drivers will be penalized during the race.

Spare parts

  • The track temperature at the start of the race on the hot and humid day was 134.5 degrees.

  • Joe Nemechek, the only driver without a top-12 finish among the 16 who have competed in all nine Brickyard races, was 20th; his best was 18th in 2000.

  • Elliott, who started second, is the first front-row starter to win the race; the worst starting position for a winner was 27th by Jeff Gordon last year.

  • Kevin Harvick, feeling ill overnight, was treated at the Speedway medical center before the race for food poisoning and still finished fifth, 6.035 seconds behind Elliott.

  • Elliott's victory gave Dodge its first win in the Brickyard and third in a row this season.

  • Rusty Wallace, who lost the lead to Elliott on the 149th of the 160 laps, finished second here for a record third time.

  • The 46-year-old Elliott, born Oct. 8, 1955, is the oldest Brickyard winner.

  • The $7,423,979 purse was a Brickyard 400 record; Elliott's first prize of $449,056 was not a record.

  • Fourth-place Ryan Newman won $247,000, including $1,000 as rookie of the race; the only other rookie, Jimmie Johnson, finished ninth and received $135,025.

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