tampabay.com

Brickyard 400 turns to good hands

By wire services
Published April 29, 2005


INDIANAPOLIS - The Brickyard 400 was one of a few NASCAR races without corporate sponsorship. Not anymore.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Thursday that the race in August will be renamed the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. The race had been called the Brickyard 400 since its inception in 1994.

Speedway president Joie Chitwood would not give specific details about the multiyear deal with Allstate, but called the insurance company's investment "significant," and said it took about a month to work out the deal.

"The fact that we had an immediate comfort level with the company helped expedite the process," Chitwood said.

But he said the track's biggest prize - the Indianapolis 500 - would not be getting a name change any time soon: "The Indy 500 has had a great name since 1911. I think there is no reason I would want to change that."

BUSCH: The confidence and levelheadedness of Martin Truex Jr. emerges when he talks about breaking out of his series slump.

"I think it's going to be this weekend," Truex said after qualifying fourth behind pole-sitter Paul Menard for Saturday's Aaron's 312 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

But the driver from New Jersey knows that might not be so easy. "There's no telling," he said. "We could go five laps and get into a crash or something."

The reigning Busch champion has some reason for optimism this weekend. Like his boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr., he's got a nice - albeit limited - track record in restrictor-plate races.

He did nothing to tarnish that image Thursday, taking his Chevrolet around the 2.66-mile oval at 183.273 mph. Menard earned his second career Busch pole with a lap of 184.023. Joe Nemechek qualified second at 183.645 and Denny Hamlin third at 183.382.

Clint Bowyer, J.J. Yeley, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch completed the top-eight sweep for Chevrolet. Kasey Kahne qualified ninth in a Dodge, followed by the Chevy of Justin Labonte.

Truex beat out Earnhardt, who co-owns Chance 2 Motorsports with his stepmother Teresa Earnhardt, in his Talladega debut last year. Truex has a win, a pole and three top-five finishes in four races at Talladega and Daytona, where NASCAR requires horsepower-sapping carburetor restrictor plates to slow the cars.

He ran in the top 10 for much of the Daytona 500 in February before experiencing engine trouble. "I'm confident. My car's really good this weekend and we won here last year," said Truex, who also will try to qualify for Sunday's Nextel Cup Aaron's 499.