TALLADEGA, Ala. - A group calling itself the National Association for Minority Race Fans was offered a site for planned protests this weekend during NASCAR's events at Talladega Superspeedway.
Track president Grant Lynch said he talked with representatives of the association for the first time Friday but didn't learn a lot.
"Unfortunately, our conversations with the group have not been very informative," Lynch said before the start of qualifying for Sunday's EA Sports 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race. "We don't really know exactly when they're coming. We don't really know where they're coming from. And we don't really know how many of them are coming."
The group sent a letter to the state asking to be able to hold a peaceful demonstration at Talladega.
The protest can be set up in a nearly 7-acre field about a quarter of a mile from the track's main entrance. The site is normally used for overflow parking.
"We called them because we certainly want to speak to anyone who wants to talk about the issue of diversity and who wants to bring, perhaps, some good, constructive ideas to the table," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. "We've also offered to meet with them and they've not responded to that as of yet."
NEMECHEK ON POLE: Joe Nemechek won his seventh career Nextel Cup pole and first since he sat on the pole for the Talladega fall race four years ago. Three of Nemechek's seven poles have come at Talladega.
Five Fords, including spring pole-sitter Ricky Rudd, qualified in the top eight. The defending race winner, Michael Waltrip, qualified 14th. His teammate and winner of four of the last six Talladega races, Dale Earnhardt Jr., qualified 10th. Jeff Gordon, points leader and the winner of the spring race at the Alabama track, qualified fifth. CRAVEN GETS A CALL: Ricky Craven will drive for Joe Gibbs Racing at Talladega Superspeedway after losing his ride with PPI Motorsports.
"This is an opportunity to go to Talladega, race excellent equipment and be seen," Craven said.
He is looking forward to being with drivers he knows well - former Nextel Cup champions Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte. Craven stepped out of the PPI Chevrolet for the last time at New Hampshire International Speedway two weeks ago.