IMS Brickyard test notes 2005-07-06

BUSCH FASTEST IN ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD TUNE-UP INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, July 6, 2005 -- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd improved upon their test speeds from July 5 during testing of race setups July 6, putting...

BUSCH FASTEST IN ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD TUNE-UP

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, July 6, 2005 -- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd improved upon their test speeds from July 5 during testing of race setups July 6, putting the wrap on a two-day Allstate 400 at the Brickyard test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Reigning series champion Busch set the fastest lap of the test July 6 at 180.208 mph in the No. 97 Crown Royal Ford. Rudd's fastest lap of the day in the No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford was 178.999, slightly faster than his July 5 top speed of 178.937. The second day's higher speeds came despite more sunshine and higher temperatures and humidity.

The drivers are testing in anticipation of the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 7 at the legendary 2.5-mile oval.

"We've got one car that we put away, and we're pretty happy with it," Rudd said. "We've been working with another car, just to have two good cars. We'll figure out which one is best when we come back. We struggled a little bit today with it, getting it to stay where the speeds stay quick."

Busch and 1997 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Rudd took advantage of the two full days of testing at the Speedway while Busch's Roush Racing teammate, Carl Edwards, tested only July 5. Edwards was fastest Tuesday at 179.165 in the No. 99 AAA Ford. Jimmy Spencer also joined the group July 5 in the No. 50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge, but crashed in Turn 1 in the afternoon, causing heavy rear-end damage to the only car the team brought to Indianapolis.

While Busch said he's antsy to see how his car and tires react in traffic on the Speedway's newly repaved surface, he was content to take advantage of a day at IMS virtually to himself.

"There's pros and cons to (a small test)," Busch said. "It gives us more track time; you don't have to worry about people blowing up motors or getting into accidents. It gives us plenty of track time, really. It's so hot out; it's hard for us to gauge the kind of speeds we'll be able to obtain next month. We're just fine and dandy all by ourselves."

Private testing continues July 11-12 at IMS, when 23 cars are scheduled to turn laps. Drivers schedule to test include current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points leader Greg Biffle, his Roush Racing teammates Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth, Rusty Wallace, and former Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winners Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick.

More of NEXTEL Cup's "heavy hitters" are scheduled to test July 18-19. A total of 17 teams and drivers will turn laps, including four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon, fellow former race winners Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott, and Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Stewart and Gordon are scheduled to test only July 19.

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QUOTEBOOK

RICKY RUDD (No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford): "We've got one car that we put away, and we're pretty happy with it. We've been working with another car, just to have two good cars -- we'll figure out which one is best when we come back. We struggled a little bit today with it, getting it to stay where the speeds stay quick. It's one of those deals where you could use three days with it." (What about qualifying setup work?): "The track's going to be quite a bit different when we come back. The race setup tends to be much more consistent than your qualifying setup. One of the nice luxuries with the top 35 points is you can focus on things that are more important to the race. Qualifying is not quite as important, even though track position is very important here. I don't think you'll see track conditions change as drastically as they have in the past. The last time we were here (IMS) had a ground surface, and it seems to be more consistent than it was without a ground surface."

KURT BUSCH (No. 97 Crown Royal Ford): "There's pros and cons to both sides. It gives us more track time; you don't have to worry about people blowing up motors or getting into accidents. It gives us plenty of track time, really. It's so hot out; it's hard for us to gauge the kind of speeds we'll be able to obtain next month. We're just fine and dandy all by ourselves." (You had cooler temperatures yesterday, and it's more hot and humid today. So at least you're getting a range of conditions): "You never know. Sometimes we come here and it's 60 degrees in the mornings, and the track's nice a cool, very fast. Then it goes to 100 degrees in the afternoon and the asphalt will go up to 140, so that's when it really changes, when the asphalt temperature changes." (At least you can keep the secrets all to yourselves?): "This is great. Normally when you come to Indy you've got a big group of cars, but this feels like we rented the place out for a private test all by ourselves." (How are the tires reacting to the new surface?): "The track is a bit abrasive and that provides for great speeds, but right now it's so hot out, it's hard to get that speed out of it. The track is just so green; there's not enough cars out here. When we show up for the race, we'll have 55 cars out here trying to make the race. Then the track will fill in, and we'll be ready to go."

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Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.

*** <pre> UNOFFICIAL SPEED REPORT, NASCAR NEXTEL CUP TESTING INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2005

Rank    Car No. Driver          Speed (mph)     Total Laps
  1.    97      Kurt Busch      180.208         68
  2.    21A     Ricky Rudd      178.999         91

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Jimmy Spencer , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Carl Edwards , Mark Martin