NASCAR Busch Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Scott Riggs posted the fastest lap of the first series practice session for "The Kroger 300 Presented by Oreo" at 173.171 mph (31.085 sec.), bettering the 2001 Kentucky pole speed set by Jay Sauter at 171.860 mph (31.421 sec.) by nearly two seconds.

Riggs, entered the week third in the series points standings on the strength of two wins, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Riggs knows Kentucky well after winning the 2001NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Kroger 225" event and testing his No. 10 Nesquik Ford at the track in May.

"Everyone calls me a rookie, but this is definitely not a rookie team," Riggs said. "This is a championship caliber team and they have made me feel very comfortable behind the wheel."

He said the newly-paved surface at Kentucky contributed to his top speed. "The track is definitely a lot smoother and really doesn't have any trouble spots. It is really fast and I think tomorrow is going to be a fun race. We'll definitely be able to run two-wide out there tomorrow."

Second-year series driver Larry Foyt, in the No. 14 Harrah's Casino Chevrolet, turned the second-fastest lap of the session at 172.911 mph (31.230 sec.), while Jason Keller, who leads the series in victories with four, rounded out the top three after guiding his No. 57 Albertson's Ford to its fastest lap of 172.701 mph (31.268 sec.).

"We're really happy with the car. We haven't been having good qualifying runs so we've been concentrating a lot on race set ups," Foyt said. "The new surface is great, it's nice and smooth, like Texas. You have to guess right to get your tires into the groove."

The NASCAR Busch Series "Kroger 300 Presented by Oreo" weekend begins today with Lexington Herald-Leader Pole Night featuring Busch Series qualifying and final practice. Both will be followed by the NASCAR Hills Bros. All Pro Series "Kentucky 150 " event at 9:00 p.m.

The NASCAR Busch Series takes center stage for "The Kroger 300 Presented by Oreo" on June 15 at 8:00 p.m. Gates open at noon and the multitude of pre-race festivities will include a concert by pop/rock band Dishwalla and a 90th Birthday Celebration for presenting sponsor Oreo®.

Tickets for this evening's events are available at 1-888-652-RACE (7223) and the Kentucky Speedway ticket office at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 300, until 6:00 p.m. today, and at the speedway ticket office at Gate 16 until race time.

Tickets for June 15 are available at until midnight, at outlets located in Meijer, Hader Hardware and Play-It-Again Sports stores until 8:00 p.m. and at the speedway ticket office at Gate 16 until race time.