MARTIN FASTEST IN GLEN TEST, WALLACE, FELLOWS BOTH QUICK
Mark Martin tuned for the August 13 Bud at the Glen by shattering his own track record in a private test session Wednesday and Thursday at Watkins Glen International.
Martin turned in a fast lap of 1:13.95 Wednesday on the 2.45-mile circuit, 119.27 mph, best of 10 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.
"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 in his Wednesday session. "We tried some other shocks and stuff. It shows we weren't idiots when we came up with our setup."
Rusty Wallace joined the test on Thursday, but rain most of the day limited testing to a late afternoon session. Wallace managed to get a lap of 118.71 mph in his Miller Genuine Draft Ford despite less than two hours of track time.
"That's a brand new car, and that's not as fast as it will go," Wallace said. "We built this car specifically for Watkins Glen, which is primarily right hand turns. It's a beautiful, awesome-looking car, and it's fast as a bullet."
Wallace plans to return to the Glen to test on Tuesday.
Canadian Ron Fellows, a veteran of the SCCA Trans-Am Series, prepped for his Winson Cup debut with a lap of 117.79 mph in the Canaska Chevy.
"I'm still learning a lot about this car, and I'm pleased we've made so much progress," said Fellows, the defending Watkins Glen Trans-Am winner and three-time winner on the '95 tour. "We still don't have the ideal mechanical package, and I think there's a lot we can do with the car."
Another road racing veteran, Wally Dallenbach was fourth 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.
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, driving in both the Saturday, August 12 Burnham 150 NASCAR Busch North Grand National race 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.
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 117.02 mph with Baldwin at the wheel, while Pressley's fast lap was 116.36 mph.
Other Winston Cup drivers testing were Bobby Labonte, a two-time winner this season, with a fast lap of 117.27 mph, Todd Bodine in the Factory Stores Ford, 116.91 mph, and Family Channel Ford driver Ted Musgrave, 115.948 mph.
The lone incident of the test involved Sandy, Oregon driver Terry Fisher, who smacked the turn 10 tire wall Wednesday after an apparent brake failure. He was treated and released from Schuyler Hospital, but the #66 Radius Ford was badly damaged in the incident.
The Glen plans to open Gate 4-A for Tuesday's practice, allowing spectators to view from the Ninety Grandstand and Turn One Viewing Berm from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $3, with children 12 and under admitted free.
UNOFFICIAL TIMES (Hand timed, best of two days, from various sources) Mark Martin #6 Valvoline Ford 1:13.95 119.27 mph Rusty Wallace #2 Miller Genuine Draft Ford 1:14.30 118.71 mph Ron Fellows Canaska Chevy 1:14.88 117.79 mph Wally Dallenbach #22 MBNA Pontiac 1:14.98 117.63 mph Butch Leitzinger #40 Kendall Pontiac 1:15.15 117.37 mph Bobby Labonte #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy 1:15.21 117.27 mph Jack Baldwin #33 Skoal Bandit Chevy 1:15.37 117.02 mph Todd Bodine #75 Factory Stores Ford 1:15.44 116.91 mph Robert Pressley #33 Skoal Bandit Chevy 1:15.80 116.36 mph Ted Musgrave #16 Family Channel Ford 1:16.15 115.98 mph