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Press Snoop: Happy hour for Stewart

25 June 2006

TONY STEWART/#29 Home Depot Chevrolet was fastest in NASCAR's 'Happy Hour' final practice with a time of 77.289/92.691 mph.

CLINT BOWYER/#07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet and KEVIN HARVICK/#29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet skipped the second Saturday Practice session to fly to Milwaukee for qualifying in the NASCAR Busch Series
AT&T 250 Race. Bowyer/#2 AC Delco Chevrolet qualified fourth and Harvick/#21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet qualified eighteenth.

Top Rookie, DENNY HAMLIN/#11 FedEx Chevrolet ran the session, finishing twenty-seventh. He missed qualifying at Milwaukee, but his #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet was put on pole by replacement driver, ARIC ALMIROLA. Hamlin will have to start the race from the back of the pack due to the driver change.

SCOTT RIGGS/#10 Valvoline Dodge has BILL ELLIOTT on standby this weekend just in case,but doesn't anticipate needing Elliot to take overdriving duties. Riggs suffered lacerated feet from a jet ski accident earlier this week, which required stitches. So far he's been good to go in his car, with a little help from his friends. Teammate JEREMY MAYFIELD/#19 Dodge Dealers Dodge loaned Riggs shoes, which are two sizes larger to accommodate the bandages. BORIS SAID/#60 Sobe-No Fear Ford taught him the fine art of right front braking which helped a lot. Riggs will start the race in twenty-fifth position.

Rookie RICARDO IMERY/#64 AXA Porsche 911 GT3 took his first ever pole in the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Series GT Class Saturday morning with a lap of 1:17.943/91.913 mph. He just started racing the series last season and is running his first full season. The Venezuelan's lap time would have placed him in the ninth row for the Nextel Cup race.

This was Imery's first time at Infineon Raceway.

PIERRE KLEINUBING/#42 Realtime Acura TSX be at his boss in qualifying to take the pole for the SPEED World Challenge Touring Championship with a fast lap of 1:22.786/86.536 mph. This was his twenty-eighth pole position in the series, which he has been in for the past ten years. Kleinubing has been racing for the past ten years in the series and with RealTime racing, owned by PETER CUNNINGHAM/#1 RealTime Acura TSX, who qualified second.

Kleinubing said it was a "perfect lap in a perfect day," a native of Brazil, just became a US Citizen ten days ago and is quite proud and pleased.

Cunningham currently holds the record for number of World Challenge poles - 29, but Kleinubing pointed out that at one point, he had more poles than Cunningham. It has been a long friendly rivalry.

Kleinubing has also raced the full road course configuration at Infineon Raceway and prefers the NASCAR course. He especially likes the Esses - they are more challenging (pun intended) and he doesn't miss the Carousel - the part of the course not used for NASCAR,

CHARLES ESPENLAUB/#97 Sparco Mazda 6 was third fastest in a field of 28 cars.

LANCE STEWART/#6 Circuit City Mazda 6 didn't qualify, as his car lost an engine Friday. It was to have been a big reunion for Stewart and his long-ago engine team owner, OSCAR JACKSON, who came out of a sixteen-year retirement to run the race with Stewart. Turned out to be a short weekend.

CHIP HERR/#17 StaSIS Motorsports Audi A4 was moved to the back of the starting grid after his car failed post-qualifying Scrutineering. It had a noncompliant boost level due to a failed boost control module.

It will be challenging (pun intended) for the drivers to race Saturday afternoon in the heat of the day. So far this companion weekend they have been on course early morning and late afternoon. It will mean changing setups, including shocks. Another challenge this weekend has been running with NASCAR, something they haven't done before this season. The NASCAR tyres are different from any other kind of tyres run the same weekend as World Challenge, and it has made a difference, said Kleinubing. The track is slipperier after NASCAR.

The two World Challenge races will run Saturday afternoon, after the West Series race.


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