BUSCH: Homestead test notes 2004-11-09

MIAMI, FL (11/9/04) - Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon set the fastest lap of the day Tuesday as a total of 35 racecars took laps in preparation for Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov 18-21. Gordon, who is...

MIAMI, FL (11/9/04) - Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon set the fastest lap of the day Tuesday as a total of 35 racecars took laps in preparation for Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov 18-21.

Gordon, who is currently second in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 41 points back of leader Kurt Busch, circled the 1.5 mile oval with a lap of 174.194 mph (31.00 sec). He was followed closely by fellow Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup contenders Dale Earnhardt Jr. 174.137 mph (31.01 sec), Mark Martin 173.689 mph (31.09 sec), and Jimmie Johnson 172.745 mph (31.26 sec).

Gordon is very impressed with how much the track has matured since last year's Ford Championship Weekend and believes that the track's quick maturation will lead to some great racing during the Ford 400 season-finale.

"Tracks tend to take a while to mature, but with this track, the hot sun has allowed the track to mature very fast," said Gordon. "I think you are going to see a three-groove race track and that's really going to be exciting for the fans."

Gordon's teammate Johnson, who currently sits fourth in points only 47 behind Busch, agrees about the maturation of the track.

"The lanes are going to wider than last year and we'll have a higher groove out there than we did before," said Johnson. "It's only going to get better as time goes on."

Eight NASCAR Busch Series drivers also took laps in preparation for the Ford 300 NASCAR Busch Series finale Nov. 20. NASCAR Busch Series points-leader Martin Truex Jr. was quickest among the Busch Series drivers with a lap of 171.320 mph (31.52 sec), topping Kyle Busch's 169.173 mph (31.92) lap. Truex and Busch are both in contention to be crowned NASCAR Busch Series champion following the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Testing continues Wednesday with all 35 drivers that participated Tuesday expected to again turn laps. Testing is open to the public free of charge. Fans may view the testing from the Speedway's Club Level.

For more information, or to order tickets to Ford Championship Weekend, call (305) 230-RACE or log on homesteadmiamispeedway.com.

Unofficial times and speeds for selected drivers during NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Testing and NASCAR Busch Series testing November 9 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway:

<pre> November 9 (Day One):

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: 1. 24 Jeff Gordon 31.00 sec 174.194 mph 2. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr 31.01 sec 174.137 mph 3. 6 Mark Martin 31.09 sec 173.689 mph 4. 48 Jimmie Johnson 31.26 sec 172.745 mph 5. 42 Jamie McMurray 31.31 sec 172.467 mph 6. 30 Jeff Burton 31.38 sec 172.084 mph 7. 21 Ricky Rudd 31.40 sec 171.975 mph 8. 18 Bobby Labonte 31.42 sec 171.865 mph 9. 20 Tony Stewart 31.47 sec 171.592 mph 10. 38 Elliott Sadler 31.58 sec 170.994 mph

NASCAR Busch Series Championship Contenders: 1. 8 Martin Truex Jr. 31.52 sec 171.320 mph 2. 5 Kyle Busch 31.92 sec 169.173 mph

-hms-

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Martin Truex Jr. , Elliott Sadler , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin