Originally created 03/28/04

NASCAR notebook



BRISTOL, Tenn. - Brian Vickers had the fastest car in the final practice session Saturday for the Food City 500. He was clocked at 122.968 mph.

Many consider the final practice session, known as Happy Hour, as the best indicator of what to expect during the main event because cars are in their race trims.

Scott Wimmer was second-fastest at 122.945 mph, followed by Kurt Busch in third at 122.937, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in fourth at 122.921 and Kasey Kahne in fifth at 122.795.

Rusty Wallace came in sixth, Sterling Marlin in seventh, Ward Burton in eighth, Johnny Sauter in ninth and Elliott Sadler in 10th.

The only problem during the final session came when Tony Stewart bumped Scott Riggs heading into the first turn, sending Riggs into the outside wall. The left side of Riggs' Chevrolet was heavily damaged, but his MBV Motorsports team said it planned to make repairs so he wouldn't have to forfeit his 28th spot in the starting lineup by moving to a backup car.

PIT STOPS: Roush Racing hired Mike McLaughlin to fill in for Greg Biffle when there are conflicts between the Nextel Cup and Busch series schedules. Biffle is attempting to run full-time on both series. Roush decided to have McLaughlin on call in case Biffle is delayed by weather. When there's a conflict, Biffle said he will opt for the Nextel Cup Series and McLaughlin will drive his Busch Series car. ... Texas Motor Speedway announced Saturday that fans already are in line to enter speedway property for next week's races. The Busch and Nextel Cup series will race at the 1.5-mile speedway next Saturday and Sunday.

Reach Don Coble at doncoble@bellsouth.net