NASCAR PRESEASON THUNDER AT LAS VEGAS -- DAY 16
* Over 40 NASCAR Busch Series teams at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for testing
* Edwards heads to Mexico City following Tuesday session to participate in Media Day for March 5 race
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2006) -- Over 40 NASCAR Busch Series teams began their final test session of the preseason on Monday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway -- one of only two opportunities this year for series teams to test on a 1.5-mile track that will hold a NASCAR Busch Series event.
In 2006, NASCAR has set a schedule for when and where each of its national series may test at tracks that host NASCAR events. Those tests will be the teams' only opportunities to test at those tracks. Las Vegas is one of four tracks that NASCAR Busch Series teams can utilize for tests this season. The others are Daytona International Speedway (recently concluded), Richmond International Raceway and Lowe's Motor Speedway. Teams will be able to familiarize themselves with Martinsville Speedway one day prior to the July 22 race when the series makes its first visit to the .526-mile track since 1994.
Teams participating in the three-day session at Las Vegas Monday -- Wednesday select two of the three available days to test. A session-high 43 teams are scheduled to test on Tuesday, while only four teams are expected to be on the track during Wednesday's final day of testing.
With only two sessions at Las Vegas available over the next three days, the information gained has great value to the teams since there are eight 1.5-mile tracks on the 35-race NASCAR Busch Series schedule that represent 10 races.
Perhaps more important is the knowledge gained by members of this year's NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie class.
"I definitely think this will be one of the most important tests of the year," said Roush Racing rookie Danny O'Quinn (No. 50 World Financial Group Ford). "Daytona was important but we only run a couple of those tracks. A large percentage of the tracks we run this year will be 1.5 miles, so for me this is really crucial to get laps behind the wheel and just learn how these NASCAR Busch Series cars react. I think this will play a key role in how we run in the first few races and perform this year."
O'Quinn's teammate, Todd Kluever (No. 06 3M Ford) agreed. "For me it's critical, being a rookie. This is going to be just like many of the tracks we start out at this season, so as much time as I can spend on the track today learning what a NASCAR Busch Series car feels like and determining what we need to do to our car to make it go faster will be critical to our success at the beginning of the season."
Once his test session concludes on Tuesday afternoon, 2005 NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest/Henkel Ford) continues on a hectic travel schedule that has taken him to Daytona Beach to Las Vegas (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing) to Los Angeles for an off-track event and back to Las Vegas (NASCAR Busch Series testing) since Jan. 16. Edwards will visit Mexico City for a media day on Wednesday in advance of the March 5 road-course race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
"You hit it right on the head that most of our tracks are like this, so this test will be very important," Edwards said following his first session Monday morning prior to heading out for a lunchtime jog. "The better we can run and can get our body tuned in and figure out our cars on this type of track, the more we will be able to benefit from the information over the upcoming months. It's (Las Vegas) definitely one of our most important tests."
All sessions at Las Vegas begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time, weather permitting. Each session includes a lunch break from noon until 1:00 p.m.
The 2006 NASCAR Busch Series season -- the 25th anniversary of series sponsor Anheuser-Busch -- begins Feb. 18 at 1:00 p.m. ET with the Hershey's Kissables 300 Daytona.
What: NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing for 2006.
Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Track Layout: 1.5-mile tri-oval.
When: Mon., Feb. 6 -- Wed., Feb. 8.
Times: 9 a.m. -- 5 p.m.; Lunch from Noon -- 1 p.m. (PT)
Who: John Andretti, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, Spencer Clark, Stacy Compton, Carl Edwards, David Gilliland, David Green, Mark Green, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Tracy Hines, Ron Hornaday Jr., Kasey Kahne, Joel Kauffman, Jason Keller, Matt Kenseth, Todd Kluever, Jason Leffler, Burney Lamar, Stephen Leicht, Kevin Lepage, Ashton Lewis Jr., Mark McFarland, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Joe Nemechek, Danny O'Quinn, Steve Park, Ken Schrader, Jay Sauter, Johnny Sauter, Tim Sauter, Regan Smith, Reed Sorenson, Paul Tracy, Kenny Wallace, Steve Wallace, Chris Wimmer, Jon Wood and J.J. Yeley.