Burton busts to the front at Daytona By Dave Rodman DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 17, 2000) "Nobody" knew Bill Davis Racing was coming to Daytona International Speedway's "mandatory" General Motors pre-season NASCAR Winston Cup stock car test...
Burton busts to the front at Daytona By Dave Rodman
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 17, 2000) "Nobody" knew Bill Davis Racing was coming to Daytona International Speedway's "mandatory" General Motors pre-season NASCAR Winston Cup stock car test Monday, but less than two minutes before the day ended, Ward Burton made sure everyone knew the No. 22 Pontiac had been here. Burton turned the fastest lap of the 30 teams and nearly 60 cars that tested on the day of variable cloudiness and mid-60s temperatures. At about 5:06 ET, Burton was clocked at 48.442 seconds around the high-banked 2.50-mile trioval, an average speed of 185.789 mph.
Andy Hillenburg, who paced the first round of NASCAR Winston Cup stock car testing last week in preparation for February's Speedweeks 2000, was second fastest on Monday at 48.495 seconds, 185.586 mph. That compared favorably to the FasTrack Driving School owner's best lap a week ago in the LJ Racing Chevrolet, of 48.189/186.765.
Only nine GM teams and 10 teams total tested last week.
Rounding out the top-5 on Monday were defending Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon in a Chevrolet (185.357 mph), two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin in a Chevrolet (185.067) and former Daytona 500 Bud Pole winner Mike Skinner in a Chevrolet (184.904).
Rounding out the top-10 speeds on Monday were Jim Sauter, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve Park and Bobby Hamilton in Chevrolets and John Andretti's Pontiac.
"We've got a lot to learn," said Andretti, summing up the mood in most garages. "A lot of these cars have tested already, and we're just getting on the track. Based on that, I think we're sitting pretty good. We've only gotten through a few changes and have several more to try. Based on that, I think we can still make a lot of improvements. But, the end of the test is what the end of the test is, and hopefully we'll be up toward the front."
The question about Burton's presence arose when the team did not send its "crew lists" to Daytona International Speedway prior to the teams' arrival this morning. Twenty-three teams were expected but the garage was packed with 30.
Most teams had pairs of cars, which led to the amusing and unusual sight of drivers pulling up to the 76 gas pumps for a fill-up, only to dive out of their cars and literally sprint over to their second vehicle that had been wheeled up by his crewmen. A constant line of up to 15 cars waiting to make their runs led to the extra legwork.
The test will continue Tuesday. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand will be open at no charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET or when the test concludes, with access through the DAYTONA USA lobby.