Newman, Stremme, Raines excited to be home

Racing at the Brickyard in Indianapolis will be an exciting homecoming for Ryan Newman, David Stremme and Tony Raines.

Updated: July 25, 2007, 6:07 PM ET
By Jim Benton | Scripps Howard News Service

Ryan Newman and David Stremme grew up in South Bend, Ind., and Tony Raines is from Laporte, which is west of South Bend.

All three drivers are geared up for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and claim there is more to life in northern Indiana than Notre Dame athletics.

"It's always been known for Notre Dame football and basketball, whatever it is," Stremme said. "Auto racing in that area is strong. You can go race different tracks, and it's tough. That's what helped me be able to move on and get the experience I needed to compete at this level.

"Ryan and I grew up only three miles away from each other. He was open-wheel racing. I was stock car racing. We went to school together. Tony Raines (13 years older than Newman and Stremme) actually raced with my parents when I was a little kid running around the track. I got to watch him race."

In six career starts at the Brickyard, Newman has only one top-10 finish, a fourth-place showing in 2002. Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart won the last two Brickyard events with each going on to win that year's Nextel Cup points race.

Colorado dreaming

NASCAR fans in Colorado are hoping there is value to that familiar adage that no news is good news.

International Speedway Corp. revealed in February that it was looking at sites in the Denver metro area to build a NASCAR facility.

Two months ago, ISC informed Commerce City that it had eliminated from consideration a possible site near the Reunion residential development west of Denver International Airport.

Nothing has been heard from ISC since then.

"Just because you are not hearing anything doesn't mean there is not interest," ISC executive Wes Harris said this week. "We are definitely very interested in the Denver market. We're going to take our time through this process."

ISC has talked with the Schuck Corp., the lead developer of the TransPort cargo-distribution hub, about the possibility of a track being built on the project's land in eastern Aurora near Front Range Airport.

"They have been looking at a number of sites, and TransPort would be included in that," TransPort executive vice president Jeff Whiton said. "I wish they would make a selection, but I guess they have their process they need to go through."

Brick fishing

Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Kyle Busch, remembers creating his favorite Indianapolis memory two years ago, and it had nothing to do with the race. "We heard there were old bricks -- original ones -- in a stream on the back side of the track," he said. "So we went out there, waded into some water about knee deep and fished out some bricks. I'm sure we weren't supposed to be there, but the bricks are so cool. I have my brick on the mantel in my house, and I'm waiting to mount my ring from my first Brickyard win on it."