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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]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, speaks during a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, speaks to the media during a press conference after failing to advance to race for the championship in the season finale after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

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