INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - Jimmy Spencer reeled off a lap at 177.560 mph in the morning, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the afternoon group with a lap at 175.425 on a hot, muggy day Tuesday to draw the most attention at the end...
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - Jimmy Spencer reeled off a lap at 177.560 mph in the morning, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the afternoon group with a lap at 175.425 on a hot, muggy day Tuesday to draw the most attention at the end of a two-day NASCAR Winston Cup Series test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 5.
Spencer's lap was the fastest of the two-day test. Two-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon was second fastest Tuesday at 176.481, also in the morning. Spencer, in a second car, was third fastest in the morning at 175.730.
Earnhardt's lap came late in the day after Jeff Green had been fastest in the hot conditions at 175.281 for most of the session.
"This is a big event, and it's special to come up here to Indianapolis," Spencer said. "We've run well in the past, and we brought up some different cars this time.
"We're trying to get qualifying down, and today we're trying to get practice runs down and see what's the best we can do with computers on the cars. You're not allowed computers when you come back. You just try to do a ton of things and evaluate it, and when you come back, you're hopefully in good shape."
Earnhardt's team used the testing strategy of putting qualifying setups on teammate Steve Park's car and race setups on Earnhardt's car Monday and reversing it Tuesday. Park was second fastest of the day Monday.
All speeds were far short of the Winston Cup track record of 181.072 set by Brett Bodine a year ago. "I doubt it," Park said when asked if a track record was in the making. "With the rule changes and the lack of spring rubbers and stuff, you can't get these cars low enough on the straightaways to see those speeds. It wouldn't surprise me if we saw something close to it, but it would surprise me to see a new track record."
Davey Hamilton, the Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League veteran who suffered serious leg injuries in an accident at Texas last month, was a surprise visitor in Gasoline Alley, brought to the track by racing journalist Bones Bourcier. Brett Bodine was among the first of the NASCAR drivers to greet Hamilton, who requires further surgery and rehabilitation.
Testing for the other half of Winston Cup competitors is scheduled for July 24-25 at the 2.5-mile oval. <pre> NASCAR WINSTON CUP TOP TESTING SPEEDS BY DRIVER, INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, JULY 17 (Fastest speed overall for each driver)
Pos. No. Name Speed 1. 26K Jimmy Spencer 177.560 2. 24 Jeff Gordon 176.481 3. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 175.425 4. 30 Jeff Green 175.281 5. 01X Jason Leffler 174.835 33 Joe Nemechek 174.835 7. 43A John Andretti 174.778 8. 6B Mark Martin 174.700 9. 66 Todd Bodine 174.463 10. 32A Ricky Craven 174.408 11. 22 Ward Burton 174.314 12. 25 Jerry Nadeau 174.095 13. 2 Rusty Wallace 173.940 14. 50B Rick Mast 173.314 15. 11A Brett Bodine 173.267 16. 5T Terry Labonte 173.220 17. 14B Ron Hornaday 172.977 18. 13B Hermie Sadler 171.749 19. 27A Mike Bliss 171.602 20. 49 Andy Hillenburg 171.595 21. 40 Sterling Marlin 170.694 22. 1A Steve Park 170.145 23. 97A Kurt Busch 170.142 24. 99A Jeff Burton 169.591 25. 81 Mark Green 167.193