Wallace busts hot lap -- 14 GM teams on deck at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 5) -- Rusty Wallace, using a Ford Thunderbird that scored only one top 10 finish in four 1996 superspeedway races, posted the fastest lap of the winter...
Wallace busts hot lap -- 14 GM teams on deck at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 5) -- Rusty Wallace, using a Ford Thunderbird that scored only one top 10 finish in four 1996 superspeedway races, posted the fastest lap of the winter at Daytona International Speedway Sunday as a three-day Ford NASCAR Winston Cup stock car test ended. Wallace, who was 10th in the 1996 Sears DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, was clocked at 47.759 seconds, an average speed of 188.446 mph. The Penske Racing test effort was boosted by three days of yeoman work by TV commentator Buddy Baker, winner of the fastest Daytona 500 ever, in 1980. Wallace and Baker played musical cars for three days, using the updated '96 chassis along with a PC chassis that was seeing use at Daytona for the first time. Wallace's was the only lap better than 188 in the three days. Greg Sacks, who is negotiating with Ranier-Walsh Racing for a full-season ride, turned the second-best lap of 187.547 mph. "Teammate" Tony Stewart ran a second, telemetry-equipped Thunderbird for three days and recorded a best lap of 183.647 mph. The 1996 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter was off for the balance of week of testing at Walt Disney World Speedway in his Team Menard Indy Racing League car.Menard's Larry Curry was seen scoping out the NASCAR Winston Cup garage area while Stewart noted his '97 dossier would include a limited run at the NASCAR Busch Series, some NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series outings and a full IRL schedule, with a possibility of a couple NASCAR Winston Cup dates. Sunday, Lake Speed was at 187.246, John Andretti at 187.060 and Dale Jarrett, in teammate Ernie Irvan's No. 28 T-bird, at 186.931 to round out the top five. Irvan had to depart after lunch for a Texaco engagement in South Florida. Before he left, he, Jarrett and Jeremy Mayfield had engaged two 10-lap drafting exercises and Irvan said he found little difference in the driving styles of the 1997-spec Thunderbirds, which have their rear quarters an inch higher, raising the spoiler that much more into the airflow. Also on hand for the Ford test was Jack Roush's Craftsman Truck pilot, Chuck Bown, who helped Jeff Burton wheel three cars; and NASCAR Winston Cup journeyman Delma Cowart, who was excited to have an ex-Penske Thunderbird, but who struggled to reach 180 mph and came up a tick short. Fourteen General Motors NASCAR Winston Cup teams will open a three-day test Monday, with the teams of two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin, defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon and 1996 rookie of the year Johnny Benson among those expected. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand is open daily at no charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with access through DAYTONA USA. Guided Speedway tours are also available from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
FORD TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 5*
NO DRIVER TIME SPEED
2 Rusty Wallace 47.759 secs 188.446 20 Greg Sacks 47.988 187.547 9 Lake Speed 48.065 187.246 98 John Andretti 48.113 187.060 28 Dale Jarrett 48.146 186.931 90 Dick Trickle 48.241 186.563 37 Jeremy Mayfield 48.307 186.308 28 Ernie Irvan 48.320 186.258 99 Jeff Burton 48.803 184.415 20 Tony Stewart 49.009 183.640 0 Delma Cowart 50.287 178.973 * Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.