Rookie Johnson fastest during two-day test at Sears Point Raceway. SONOMA, Calif. - Rookie Jimmie Johnson, who had never raced a NASCAR Winston Cup car at Sears Point Raceway, recorded the fastest time during a two-day test session on the...
Rookie Johnson fastest during two-day test at Sears Point Raceway.
SONOMA, Calif. - Rookie Jimmie Johnson, who had never raced a NASCAR Winston Cup car at Sears Point Raceway, recorded the fastest time during a two-day test session on the 12-turn road course.
Johnson turned a time of 1 minute, 17.2 seconds over the 2-mile course to lead a group of six NASCAR drivers who spent Tuesday and Wednesday shaking down the course for the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350, June 20-23.
"I enjoy road-course racing and I'm looking forward to coming back out here in June," Johnson said. "I took the racing school here at Sears Point a long time ago but this was the first time in a Cup car. It was good to come out here for the test."
Fellow rookie Ryan Newman was right behind Johnson at 1:17.22, thanks to some coaching from road-race specialist Scott Pruett over the two days. Newman, like Johnson, was getting his first taste of Sears Point Raceway in a Cup car.
Other times were recorded by Ron Fellows (1:17.30), Ricky Rudd (1:17.50), Kurt Busch (1:17.50) and Matt Kenseth (1:17.82). Kenseth had posted the quick time during the first day of testing on Tuesday.
One change drivers encountered at the test was a tighter transition between Turns 12-1 because of the permanent separation of the road course from the drag strip, which has been a long-time criticism of Sears Point Raceway. Portions of the track have also been repaved. The facility is in the final stages of $50 million Modernization Plan.
Other improvements drivers will find for race weekend (June 20-23) include increased runoff at almost every turn on the road course, as well as a full 43 stalls on pit road, thus eliminating the need for the infamous "Gilligan's Island" on the inside of Turn 11. The entire circuit will be repaved in September.