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New Nashville track is ready


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 12, 2001

Greg Biffle never has raced on- or ever seen, for that matter -- the new Nashville Superspeedway.

That will change today when Busch Grand National drivers and teams practice at the 1.33-mile concrete oval for Saturday's Pepsi 300.

"I don't really know what to expect at this point," said Biffle, who leads the series rookie of the year standings. "That's the great thing about this weekend. It's a level playing field."

Not really.

Points leader Kevin Harvick tested on the oval in March.

"Whenever you get to run laps at an unfamiliar track, it helps a great deal in terms of figuring out the line and finding a baseline setup," said Harvick, who has not finished worse than 12th in seven races this season. "We're going to Nashville with a lot of confidence. ... The track is fast and smooth, just a beautiful facility."

Nashville Speedway, owned by Dover Downs Entertainment Inc., seats 50,000. It has plans to expand to 200,000.

OVERTURNED: Petty Enterprises won its appeal of a NASCAR penalty when the National Stock Car Racing Commission overturned a $20,000 fine assessed to Greg Steadman, crew chief for the No. 43 Dodge driven by John Andretti.

Andretti finished second in the Food City 500 on March 25 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but the car did not meet NASCAR's minimum height requirement during post-race inspection.

"During the appeal hearing, the Appellant made a persuasive argument that the only plausible explanation for the height variance at the conclusion of the race was the cracked chassis welds resulting from the conditions of the race," the commission of Gary Bahre, Les Richter and chairman George Silbermann ruled.

"It is extremely unlikely that a cracked chassis would have occurred by design. Further testimony indicated the resulting height variance did not provide a significant competitive advantage over other competitors."

WEEKEND OFF: What does the Winston Cup points leader do during the first weekend off since February?

"Going to the Bahamas," said Dale Jarrett, the only two-time winner this season. "I'm excited about going anywhere right now. Our program is really good. ... Right now we're looking forward to getting the guys some time off, and myself some time off and relax a little bit."

ODDS AND ENDS: Cheever Indy Racing (Eddie Cheever, Scott Goodyear), Hemelgarn Racing (TBA), McCormack Motorsports (Brandon Erwin), PDM Racing (Jeret Schroeder) and Walker Racing (Sarah Fisher, TBA) filed seven entries on the last day for the Indianapolis 500. ... Patrick Carpentier had surgery to insert a screw into his left wrist, to help heal a slight fracture the CART driver suffered in the Long Beach Grand Prix.

- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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