Gill's breathtaking lap fastest at DIS By Brett Borden
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 15, 2000) After two days of testing here at Daytona International Speedway, two things are obvious to the drivers of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. One, the draft will make it almost impossible for anyone to pull away from the field. Two, even with the draft, pit strategy and performance could easily decide the inaugural NCTS race at DIS this February.
"The last two times out there we've been drafting, and the truck's just been awesome right through the corner," said Bobby Gill, who ran the fastest lap of the day and the session at 190.267 mph while drafting in his Ford. "You're off and on the gas so much, and with these big carburetors, when you're back on the gas it just pours the gas down in there, so it's going to be a fuel mileage deal."
And that will make quick pit stops essential for success on Feb. 18. And the correct call from the pits late in the race could make the difference.
Rick Crawford made it a 1-2 punch at the top for Ford, running the second fastest lap at 190.202 mph. Bryan Reffner was third fastest at 189.982.
"The whole thing here is who you draft with," said Reffner. "We actually got a couple of good teams to draft with and had a good stable truck, and to land up top is all the better. Racing and qualifying are going to be two totally different things. We need to finish a race running up front, so we've been working on nothing but what it does around other trucks and we haven't done anything as far as going fast by ourself.
"This whole race is going to be nonstop shuffling from front to back. So we'll see how it pans out."
Jimmy Hensley, who is 'experienced' enough to remember racing at Daytona before restrictor plates in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, said it was like old times out there on the 2.5-mile trioval track.
"It really did," said Hensley, who turned the fifth-fastest lap in his Chevrolet. "The Rensi Motorsports Chevrolet here is running really well in the draft. Struggled a little bit really in the solo runs without any help,
"We burned a lot of fuel. I would assume a lot of people will be practicing pit stops between now and the race. We're such a new team we've just been trying to get trucks ready to race."
Andy Houston was fourth quickest, followed by Hensley. Jack Sprague was sixth fastest, followed by Greg Biffle, Joe Ruttman, Marty Houston, and Lance Norick.