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NASCAR Will Continue Reign in IROC

August 02, 2003|Shav Glick

INDIANAPOLIS — NASCAR drivers have won the last 15 International Race of Champions and it won't change this year when the 27th edition of the four-race series ends today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a 100-mile race.

Only three drivers, Kurt Busch, Mike Bliss and Mark Martin, still have a chance to win the $250,000 winner's prize, and all are NASCAR regulars. Busch, an IROC rookie from Las Vegas, leads Bliss by eight points, but in IROC's inverted standings, they must start from the last row in the 12-car field.

If Bliss wins, however, it would break the streak of Winston Cup representatives taking home the big prize. The IROC rookie from Milwaukee is in the series as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion.

Martin, who will start 10th, has an outside chance of winning the championship, but he is in a position to set records in two categories. If he wins the series, it will be his fourth title and will break him out of a tie with the late Dale Earnhardt for most IROC titles. And if he wins the race, it will be a record 12th victory. He shares the record of 11 with Earnhardt and Al Unser Jr.

"Obviously, my plan is to keep an eye on Mark Martin," said Busch, a teammate of Martin's on Jack Roush's Cup team. "My priority all year has been to associate with Mark on the racetrack so that's what I'll do in IROC, while keeping a watchful eye on Bliss."

-- Shav Glick

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