NASCAR CHEVY TRUCK TEAMS TEST NEW SILVERADO IN PREPARATION FOR FLORIDA DODGE DEALERS 400
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (January 14, 1999) - Chevrolet's top drivers in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series were joined Thursday by NASCAR Winston Cup star Ken Schrader in testing the brand-new Silverado truck at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, preparing for the 1999 opener here on March 20, the Florida Dodge Dealers 400.
Defending Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday and former champ Jack Sprague each brought a pair of new Silverados. Also testing were 1999 rookie Scott Hansen, Andy Houston, Rick Carelli, Lonnie Rush, Jay Sauter and Tom Hubert.
"I'm happy to be coming here for the first race because of the weather," said Hornaday, driver of the NAPA Silverado owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc. "Chevrolet's made a brand-new truck for this year, and we definitely need this test. The new truck's got a lot more downforce, and Homestead is a unique racetrack. We're going to need both days to figure out the new style, because we're not used to having such good aerodynamics."
Hansen, winner of a NASCAR Slim Jim All-Pro race at Homestead in November, brought along a "coach" for his first test ever in a truck, Schrader. "This is my first truck test for Schrader Racing, starting out a full program," Hansen explained. "Kenny's here to help us out. The truck's a little heavier and harder to stop, but Kenny's helping us out. Being here last fall with the stock car helped get acclimated to the track quite a bit. I love the facility, and I love the weather!"
"Scott's run pretty good so far," said Schrader, who took a few laps in the new Silverado. "We're still sorting out a few minor problems, but that's why you come to test. I'm happy with the way he's coming along." While Schrader won't be on hand for the Florida Dodge Dealers 400, he's looking forward to the November 14 Jiffy Lube Miami 400, the debut of NASCAR Winston Cup Series race in South Florida.
"We came here for the NASCAR Busch Series race here last November (finishing 11th) and really enjoyed it," Schrader said. "We came here to get a head start for the Winston Cup race, and it's a fun place to run. We're not going to get any kind of advantage testing the truck. Nothing's going to hurt us, but we are not expecting to stumble across something that makes us say, 'Wow, we've got to try that when we come back here in November.'"
Schrader added he was happy with Chevrolet's new body style.
"I like the looks of it," he explained. "You can tell just by looking at it that's going to be a better race truck."
The Florida Dodge Dealers 400 joins the CART FedEx Championship Series in the Speedway's season-opening March 19-21 weekend. Sunday's event schedule features the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota, plus the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Series. For ticket orders, call (305) 230-7223. For additional information, visit the Speedway's official website, www.racemiami.com.