Originally created 04/02/04

Former Texas winners head-to-head in IROC



FORT WORTH, Texas -- Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth have NASCAR wins at Texas Motor Speedway. Scott Sharp has won two IndyCar races, and Scott Dixon clinched the open-wheel series' 2003 title at the track.

All four will race Friday night in this season's second International Race of Champions event. It also is IROC's first race on the 1 1/2 -mile high-banked oval.

"I'm really looking forward to racing here, especially after my winning the Cup race here last year," Newman said. "Night racing is great racing, no matter where it's at."

Newman, the defending Samsung/RadioShack 500 winner at Texas this weekend, is the IROC points leader after winning the series' first race Feb. 13 at Daytona. He beat defending IROC series champion Kurt Busch, declared the winner only after the final lap of the race was reviewed.

"Daytona was a great race for me. I think it's the best IROC race I've ever seen as far as competition, drivers that led, passing and all that stuff," Newman said.

The 12 drivers race identically prepared cars.

After the first race, the top five in IROC points were the Nextel Cup drivers: Newman, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Nextel points leader Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.

The last non-NASCAR champion in IROC was Al Unser Jr. in 1988.

Steve Kinser, who last weekend in Louisiana won his 500th World of Outlaw race, is sixth in the standings. IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves is seventh, followed by NASCAR trucks driver Travis Kvapil, Dixon, Sharp, USAC driver J.J. Yeley and Danny Lasoski of the World of Outlaws.

Since the starting grid is determined by reverse order of the Daytona finish, Lasoski and Yeley will start on the front row and Newman will be in the back.

The winner of the four-race series gets $1 million. The third race is Sept. 9 at Richmond, and the finale is Oct. 30 at Atlanta.