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Press Snoop: Schrader leads opening Indy practice.

It's a beautiful summer day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, which is running the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

The temperature is climbing into the eighties with moderate humidity and a nice breeze. The skies are blue with a few scattered clouds, a far cry from Thursday's stormy weather, which caused Lightning Alerts in the area, and shutdown the Chicago airports, disrupting lots of travel plans.

The large parkland setting is filled with colourful, eager enthusiastic NASCAR fans of all types. Everywhere folks are trying to see their favourite driver, team, car, etc.

Friday's schedule is light on track, with two one-hour Practice sessions Friday afternoon. The rest of the day is filled with wide variety of meet and greet PR sessions of one kind or another.

Ken Schrader was fastest in the first Friday session with a time of 49.911/180.321 mph. Second through fifth were Robby Gordon, rookies Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin and Casey Mears.

There are 50 Cup entries for the 43 car field. Among those who don't run the full season are Chad Chaffin, Derrike Cope, Bill Elliott, Bobby Hamilton Jr, Stephen Leicht, Boris Said and Mike Skinner.

Two drivers didn't go out on track - Elliot and Hamilton Jr. Leicht was eleventh fastest of the 'irregulars.'

Meanwhile, out at nearby newly named O'Reilly Raceway Park the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series are running a one day event, followed by a Saturday one-day event for the Busch Series. Both run night races. The Trucks have 37 entries and Busch has 44 cars - in each case one unlucky driver will go home.

Both of those series will be running Sunoco unleaded race fuel for the weekend. Last weekend at Gateway International Raceway, the Busch Series successfully ran the unleaded fuel for the first time.

Having so many drivers in town allows for crossover between series. Thursday night the J.D.Byrider 100 USAC Silver Crown race was at ORP, and Cup driver Carl Edwards came in second, behind victor Bryan Tyler. Edwards is doing 'Triple Duty' this weekend, also running the Saturday night Busch race.

Truck drivers doing Double Duty are Hamilton Jr and Skinner.

Four Busch regulars are running the Cup race, Leicht, Paul Menard, Kenny Wallace and Johnny Sauter.

Nextel Cup drivers qualify Saturday morning, followed by two practice sessions.





Related Pictures

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Ken Schrader - Little Debbie/Wood Brothers Ford   [pic credit: Ford Media/Autostock]
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, walks through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to victory, Sunday, June 14, 2015, in the rain shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Chevrolet SS greets fans before the race Sunday, June 14, 2015. Busch won the rain shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by John M. Galloway for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Chevrolet SS races to victory followed by second place finisher Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Amp Energy Chevrolet SS, and third place finisher Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS Sunday, June 14, 2015, in the rain shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Air Titan 2.0 trucks work to dry the track during a rain delay at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
A view of cars being covered on pit road as it starts to rain during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Cars sit on pit road during a rain delay at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in an alternate victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in an alternate victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Gene Haas, co-owner of Stewart Haas Racing, and his team pose in an alternate Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Chevrolet SS, celebrates his third MIS win Sunday, June 14, 2015, in the rain shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Cole Custer driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet poses for photos after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 13, 2015 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 13, 2015 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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