The Indy Racing League IndyCar Series points battle between leader Tony Kanaan and second-place driver Buddy Rice held true to form at Kentucky Speedway today during two practice sessions for "The Belterra Casino Indy 300."

Kanaan, who rides a streak of nine consecutive top-five and 10 consecutive top-10 finishes into tomorrow's 300-mile affair, and his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone were quickest in both practice sessions. Kanaan improved 1.171 mph in the second session to post the fastest lap among the 22 series drivers at 216.303 mph.

Rice and his No. 15 Pioneer Argent Panoz G/Honda/Firestone trailed Kanaan by .605 mph in the first session, but closed the deficit to 0.178 mph in the second session. He turned his best lap of the sessions at 216.125 mph. Rice will start "The Belterra Casino Indy 300" 57 points behind Kanaan in the championship standings and looking for his third win in four starts.

Defending "Belterra Casino Indy 300" champion Sam Hornish, Jr., improved from eighth quickest in the first session to fourth quickest in the second session. The pilot of the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone machine gained 2.370 mph in the second session to improve his best lap to 215.458 mph. He has not finished outside the top-three in his last three Kentucky Speedway starts and will make his first start for Marlboro Team Penske at the track tomorrow. He competed with Pennzoil Panther Racing in 2002 and 2001.

IRL newcomer Adrian Fernandez also made a dramatic improvement in the second session. He gained 3.13 mph in the second session to move from 12th to third quickest with his best lap of 215.785 mph.

"Belterra Casino Indy 300" qualifying is set for 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.

Tickets are still available and can be reserved in the following ways:
By phone at 888-652-RACE
On the World Wide Web at
In person at the Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200 in Ft. Mitchell or
the Turn 3 Fan Center off of Hwy. 35 in Sparta.
At and outlets including all Meijer Stores

~ Kentucky Speedway ~