DOVER, Del. - Hmmm, is that a British accent we're hearing in the infield media center at Dover International Speedway?

Jolly good, it is a Brit.

Formula One racing veteran David Coulthard visited the speedway yesterday on a promotional stop for Team Red Bull. The energy drink sponsors Coulthard in F1 and Brian Vickers and A.J. Allmendinger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Coulthard, winner of 13 F1 races, detoured via Dover on his way to this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

With Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti and Patrick Carpentier already in the Cup series, we shouldn't be surprised to hear another foreign accent at a NASCAR race.

Asked about the perception that there is a condescending attitude toward stock-car racing in Europe, Coulthard said, "I don't think there's been anybody looking down on the driving talent in NASCAR. If we poked fun, it's been the athletic side of NASCAR. It seems there's a bigger spread of age and shape of the athletes.

"From a pure racing spirit, for racing drivers NASCAR is as good as it gets. It's 37 weeks a year. We do 18 Grand Prix and we think it's working hard."

One aspect of NASCAR racing that caught Coulthard's attention is the garage area. In F1, the team garages are all separated. Secrecy is the F1 watchword.

"It's eye opening to see how close the competitors are," the 37-year-old Scotsman said. "I can understand how the self-policing system works here. Nobody can get away with anything because everybody's watching them."

Attendance off

The crowd was an estimated 25,000 short of a sellout. The speedway seats about 140,000. Nine fan-less sections each in Turns 2 and 3 were covered with advertising banners. Rising gas prices and food prices are seen as the reasons for the smallest crowd in years.

The crowd was an estimated 25,000 short of a sellout. The speedway seats about 140,000. Nine fan-less sections each in Turns 2 and 3 were covered with advertising banners. Rising gas prices and food prices are seen as the reasons for the smallest crowd in years.

Pit stops

* Matt Kenseth's fourth place was his best finish of the year, following a sixth and seventh in the previous two races. Kenseth is 16th the points standings.

* Matt Kenseth's fourth place was his best finish of the year, following a sixth and seventh in the previous two races. Kenseth is 16th the points standings.

* Martin Truex Jr., who won his first and only Cup race in last year's spring race here, finished sixth. His best finish of the season is fifth, at Richmond last month.

* Toyota drivers won all three weekend races at Dover. *

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