Earnhardt Jr. blisters MIS oval during final day of test session. Posted speeds top 187 Mph despite lack of horsepower. BROOKLYN, Mich.-- Dale Earnhardt Jr. proved he still may be the man to beat when it comes to qualifying at Michigan ...
Earnhardt Jr. blisters MIS oval during final day of test session.
Posted speeds top 187 Mph despite lack of horsepower.
BROOKLYN, Mich.-- Dale Earnhardt Jr. proved he still may be the man to beat when it comes to qualifying at Michigan International Speedway.
Earnhardt, who holds the MIS NASCAR qualifying record at 191.149 mph set in August 2000, notched speeds in excess of 187 mph during the second day of a two-day test session at the historic two-mile oval. Chad Little, testing BACE Motorsports equipment, also completed the two-day session Wednesday.
Both will attempt to qualify for the Michigan 400 on Father's Day, Sunday, June 16, at MIS.
"We're pretty happy," said Earnhardt Jr., who has a NASCAR Busch victory but no top-10 Winston Cup finishes at MIS."We worked on our set-up for here and for California, but mostly for California. We ran about as fast as we did last year for qualifying here, and that's with the new motor rule that limited horsepower for the test."
After posting times in the 39.9- to 40.0-second range-- about 180 mph-- during the first day, Earnhardt Jr. let loose the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet under humid conditions. The day's only break in testing came when Little's engine began smoking at 10:15 a.m., about the same time rain started falling at the Speedway. After a two-hour break to let the track dry, the cars went back out.
Earnhardt stressed the importance of performing well at MIS, which sits in the backyard of the Motor Capital of the World and attracts executives from all manufacturers.
"That's one of the big reasons (we test here) is because it's bragging rights for them if they come out with a win," Earnhardt said."Michigan is a key focal point of the season. Both races (in June and August) can depict which are the stronger teams and can break the weaker teams. If you come away with a bad showing here, it's hard to maintain a good attitude the rest of the season. If you do well, it can cure a lot of things that have gone wrong during the season."
Little echoed similar sentiments. Little plans to make a handful of Winston Cup starts for owner Andy Petree, with both Michigan races included.
"I've had a couple good races out here in Cup and Busch," said Little, who was runner-up in a Busch race in 1994 and was sixth in a Cup event at MIS three years ago."This place is important. In the scope of things, we picked high to intermediate exposure race tracks to run (Winston Cup) races, and those are Michigan, California, Dover."
Earnhardt's crew chief Tony Eury also recognized the importance of doing well at MIS.
"It's pretty important here," Eury said."All the big dogs are here, so we want to run as good as we can."
Reserved seats remain for the Michigan 400 and Pepsi 400 presented by Farmer Jack, as do exclusive fan hospitality packages. Fan hospitality packages include the best available seating for MIS' events as well as catered meals, guest speakers and entertainment. For ticket and fan hospitality ordering information, call (800) 354-1010 or visit www.MISpeedway.com.