Originally created 05/12/05

Site asks for best ever on the track



RICHMOND, Va. - The Crown Royal International Race of Champions wants to know who's the best of the best.

The all-star series that matches drivers from open-wheel, sports car and stock car circuits is asking fans to pick the greatest racers in IROC history. Voting is at racing.crownroyal. com.

Mark Martin currently holds a slight edge over Dale Earnhardt in the stock car portion, while Mario Andretti has a comfortable lead over Al Unser Jr. in open wheel. In sports cars, Scott Pruett is way ahead of Mark Donohue and Tom Kendall.

Other drivers on the list are Cale Yarborough and Bobby Labonte in stock cars; Bobby Unser and Steve Kinser in open wheel and Hurley Haywood in sports cars.

Martin's two-percent lead over Earnhardt, 47-45, obviously takes into account Martin's final year on the Nextel Cup Series and the fact he's the most successful driver in IROC history.

Andretti's 41-32 lead over Unser Jr. again proves the Andretti name remains a fixture in racing history. But the vote in sports car racing is curious. Haywood is probably the most-accomplished sports car endurance racer of all time. Pruett is the defending Grand American champion, but Haywood has five victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona, three wins in the 24 Hours of LeMans and is a four-time sports car champion.

The vote among sports car drivers has Pruett out front with 43 percent, followed by Donohue with 21, Kendall with 20 and Haywood with 15.

The vote continues through September and the all-time team will be announced at the IROC finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 28.

BUSCH GETS WARNING: Kurt Busch escaped the wrath of NASCAR this week after his third profanity-laced tirade against the sanctioning body.

NASCAR put the defending Nextel Cup Series champion on "final warning" after he criticized the organization over his two-way radio during Saturday night's Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Busch, who already was 60 laps down after a first-lap crash, was upset when NASCAR said he passed the pace car during a caution period.

They ordered him to stop on the backstretch to allow the pace car to take its rightful place on the track. He responded with profanity. After being ordered to pit road for a penalty, he threw a water bottle at an official as he sped back onto the track.

It's the third time in his young career that Busch has had the same kind of reaction to NASCAR.