Fourteen USAC Silver Crown Series drivers officially opened the second of four Kentucky Speedway race weekends with a noon practice session today.

The series makes its debut on the speedway 1.5-mile tri-oval tonight at 9:00 p.m. in "The Kentucky 100."

Series championship leader Bud Kaeding (No. 29 BK-Leffler Loan City /DRC/Shaver), who turned the quickest lap of last month's series test session at the track at 174 mph, led today's practice session with at top lap of 174.791 mph (30.894 seconds). Veteran open-wheel driver P.J. Jones (C&R Racing, Inc./C&R/ Chevrolet) was second-best in the session with a 174.684 mph (31.091 seconds) lap and Wayne Reutimann, Jr., (No. 00 Case Contracting /DRC/Pink Ford) was third quickest after turning his best lap at 172.977 mph (31.218 seconds).

"The weather and track temperature is a lot different today than when we tested here," Kaeding said. "Other than track time and knowing when to get out of the throttle, you can throw those notes out the window. I'm really glad we came her and did that test because it helped us know how to set up the gears and several things on the car. We kept making changes throughout the afternoon and ended up with the fastest time at the end of the practice. For qualifying, we'll put a new set of tires on the car and see what we can do."

The first NASCAR Busch Series practice is up next on the 1.5-mile track.

Tickets for tonight's race are available at the speedway main entrance. All seats are $20 and children age 12 and under will be admitted free.

Racing continues tomorrow with the NASCAR Busch Series "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo." The speedway announced yesterday that its 66,089 grandstand seats available for the event are sold out. Forty-dollar standing-room-only-tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the speedway ticket booths, online at or through Meijer stores.

Speedway parking lots open at 7:30 a.m. and gates open at 4:00 p.m., with "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" NASCAR Busch Series qualifying. Country music supergroup Lonestar will play a prerace concert at 6:00 p.m. and a 43-car field featuring eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers such as Kevin Harvick, defending race champion Carl Edwards and former Kentucky Speedway race winners Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch take the green flag at 8:00 p.m. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is the race honorary starter and Miss USA Tara Elizabeth Conner will be the race grand marshal.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~ Kentucky Speedway ~