MARTIN FASTEST IN GLEN TEST
Mark Martin tuned for the August 13 Bud at the Glen by swhattering his own track record in a private test session Wednesday at Watkins Glen International.
Martin turned in a fast lap of 1:13.95 on the 2.45-mile circuit, 119.27 mph, best of nine cars testing for the August 10-13 weekend. Martin won the past two runnings of the Bud at the Glen from the pole, and holds the track record of 119.118 mph.
While Martin packed the Valvoline Ford back on the trailer, Ted Musgrave, Bobby Labonte, Robert Pressley, Todd Bodine, Butch Leitzinger, Wally Dallenbach and Ron Fellows will return to test on Thursday, when they are expected to be joined by two-time Glen winner Rusty Wallace.
"We're going to bring our old car back and run it exactly like we did before," said Martin, who also tested a brand-new car at the circuit. "We tried some other shocks and stuff. It shows we weren't idiots when we came up with our setup."
Wally Dallenbach was second fastest with an unofficial lap of 117.63 mph, preparing to drive the #22 MBNA Pontiac. Dallenbach finished second in the 1993 Bud at the Glen, but has had only one Winston Cup race -- 39th at Sears Point -- since placing 14th in last year's Watkins Glen event.
Canadian Ron Fellows is hoping to make his Winston Cup debut at the Glen, and tested the Vic Sifton-owned Canaska Racing Chevy. Fellows, the defending Glen Trans-Am winner and a three-time winner on the 1995 SCCA tour, was clocked at 116.82 mph.
Butch Leitzinger was on hand in the #40 Kendall Motor Oil Pontiac, turning in a fast lap of 117.37 mph. Leitzinger is set for double duty during the August, driving in both the Burnham 150 NASCAR Busch North Grand National race on Saturday and Sunday's Bud at the Glen. Leitzinger is the Glen's defending Busch North winner, and also won the IMSA Glen Continental World Sports Car race in June.
Bobby Labonte, a two-time winner this season, had a fast lap of 116.82 mph, while no time was available for Family Channel Ford driver Ted Musgrave.
Robert Pressley, one of two Winston Cup Rookie of the Year candidates, had a "coach" on hand, sports car ace Jack Baldwin. The fast lap for the #33 Skoal Bandit Chevy was 115.29 mph.
The day's lone incident involved Sandy, Oregon driver Terry Fisher, who smacked the tire wall after apparent brake failure. He was treated and released from Schuyler Hospital, but the #66 Radius Ford was badly damaged in the turn 10 incident.
UNOFFICIAL TIMES (Hand timed, from various sources) Mark Martin #6 Valvoline Ford 1:13.95 119.27 mph Wally Dallenbach #22 MBNA Pontiac 1:14.98 117.63 mph Butch Leitzinger #40 Kendall Pontiac 1:15.15 117.37 mph Todd Bodine #75 Factory Stores Ford 1:15.44 116.91 mph Bobby Labonte #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy 1:15.5 116.82 mph Ron Fellows Canaska Chevy 1:15.5 116.82 mph Robert Pressley #33 Skoal Bandit Chevy 1:16.5 115.29 mph Ted Musgrave #16 Family Channel Ford not available
J.J. O'Malley, Watkins Glen International