BUSCH: Daytona testing notes 96-01-14

McLAUGHLIN POSTS FASTEST SPEED IN DAYTONA NASCAR BUSCH SERIES TEST DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Mike "Magic Shoes" McLaughlin saved the best for last -- the last day of a busy three-day NASCAR Busch Series stock car test at Daytona International ...

McLAUGHLIN POSTS FASTEST SPEED IN DAYTONA NASCAR BUSCH SERIES TEST

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Mike "Magic Shoes" McLaughlin saved the best for last -- the last day of a busy three-day NASCAR Busch Series stock car test at Daytona International Speedway -- as he clocked the fastest speed of the weekend Sunday in preparation for the season-opening Goody's Headache Powders 300 on Feb. 17.

McLaughlin, a former NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour champion from Waterloo, N.Y., was clocked at 186.955 mph in his Royal Oak Chevrolet Monte Carlo. His run capped a busy session in which 41 teams tried out the 2.5-mile trioval, with four drivers topping the 186 mph mark.

Meanwhile, Jeff Purvis and Phoenix Racing continued their strong showing in Speedweeks testing at Daytona. Purvis was the fastest among the teams on hand Saturday and was the first to cross the 186 barrier in the test. Purvis, who won the Busch Pole Award for the Series' last superspeedway run in the Humminbird Fishfinder 500k at Talladega Superspeedway, turned a best lap of 48.285 seconds, an average speed of 186.393 mph.

Purvis, who will compete in an entire big league stock car series for the first time when he takes on the 1996 NASCAR Busch Series, is eagerly awaiting the challenge. "So far things look good with everything we've tested including the Winston Cup and ARCA cars," said Purvis, who won the 1993 Daytona ARCA 200. "Of course you don't always know how fast everybody else really is. Every car we've rolled off the trailer at Daytona has been real fast. Hopefully, they'll continue like that.

"The team has worked hard over the winter spending a lot of time working to make the program better. All that work has paid off. The cars are fast. The (timing) clocks don't lie. We'll see the results in February. I like reading the newspapers and seeing my name in there. These guys are putting it there and I hope we see it more and more this year."

The busy month of January testing continues Monday as nearly 20 General Motors NASCAR Winston Cup teams -- including six Pontiac teams -- begin a three-day test, Jan. 15-17. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand is open daily at no charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with access through the Visitors' Center. Guided tours of the Speedway are also available from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a nominal fee.

TOP 20 BUSCH SERIES TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 14**

NO DRIVER/CAR SPEED

34 Mike McLaughlin/Chevy      186.955 mph
32 Dale Jarrett/Ford          186.216
57 Jason Keller/Chevrolet     186.097
 3 Jeff Green/Chevrolet       185.970
87 Joe Nemechek/Chevrolet     185.947
23 Chad Little/Pontiac        185.805
74 Randy LaJoie/Chevrolet     185.770
43 Rodney Combs/Chevrolet     185.536
98 Jeremy Mayfield/Ford       185.330
38 Dennis Setzer/Ford         185.303
 4 Jeff Purvis/Chevrolet      185.303
47 Jeff Fuller/Chevrolet      185.132
25 Johnny Rumley/Chevrolet    184.729
64 Bobby Dotter/Chevrolet     184.661
15 Tony Stewart/Pontiac       184.600
71 Kevin Lepage/Chevrolet     184.498
70 Dale Fischlein/Chevrolet   184.317
40 Tim Fedewa/Ford            184.226
54 Rich Bickle/Ford           184.226
92 Larry Pearson/Chevrolet    184.185

* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.

NASCAR BUSCH SERIES CUMULATIVE DAYTONA TEST SPEEDS* Daytona International Speedway -- Jan. 12-14, 1996

DRIVER/NO/CAR DATE TIME SPEED

Mike McLaughlin/#34 Chevrolet 1-14      48.140    186.955
Jeff Purvis/#4 Chevrolet      1-13      48.285    186.393
Dale Jarrett/#32 Ford         1-14      48.331    186.216
Jason Keller/#57 Chevrolet    1-14      48.362    186.097
Jeff Green/#3 Chevrolet       1-12      48.395    185.970
Joe Nemechek/#87 Chevrolet    1-14      48.401    185.947
Chad Little/#23 Pontiac       1-14      48.438    185.805
Randy LaJoie/#74 Chevrolet    1-14      48.447    185.770
Rodney Combs/#43 Chevrolet    1-14      48.508    185.536
Jeremy Mayfield/#98 Ford      1-14      48.562    185.330
Dennis Setzer/#38 Ford        1-14      48.569    185.303
Jeff Fuller/#47 Chevrolet     1-14      48.614    185.132
Johnny Rumley/#25 Chevrolet   1-14      48.720    184.729
Bobby Dotter/#64 Chevrolet    1-14      48.738    184.661
Tony Stewart/#15 Pontiac      1-14      48.754    184.600
Kevin Lepage/#71 Chevrolet    1-14      48.781    184.498
Ted Musgrave/#9 Ford          1-12      48.789    184.468
Larry Pearson/#92 Chevrolet   1-12      48.803    184.415
Dale Fischlein/#70 Chevrolet  1-14      48.829    184.317
Tim Fedewa/#40 Ford           1-14      48.853    184.226
Rich Bickle/#54 Ford          1-14      48.853    184.226
Mike Dillon/#72 Chevrolet     1-14      48.890    184.087
Curtis Markham/#63 Pontiac    1-14      48.893    184.075
Patty Moise/#14 Ford          1-14      48.937    183.910
Buckshot Jones/#00 Ford       1-14      48.944    183.884
Glenn Allen Jr/#99 Chevrolet  1-14      48.945    183.880
Jim Bown/#51 Chevrolet        1-14      48.945    183.880
Stanton Barrett/#49 Chevrolet 1-13      48.992    183.703
Pete Orr/#88 Chevrolet        1-12      49.011    183.632
David Green/#95 Chevrolet     1-13      49.018    183.606
Michael Waltrip/#12 Ford      1-14      49.046    183.501
Michael Ritch/#02 Chevrolet   1-13      49.078    183.382
Jimmy Kitchens/#50 Ford       1-14      49.114    183.247
Peter Gibbons/#09 Chevrolet   1-14      49.122    183.217
Derrike Cope/#26 Ford         1-14      49.203    182.916
L.W. Miller II/#22 Chevrolet  1-14      49.358    182.341
Andy Belmont/#36 Ford         1-14      49.619    181.382
Tommy Houston/#6 Ford         1-13      49.626    181.357
Mike Harmon/#24 Chevrolet     1-14      49.841    180.574
Jerry Marquis/#8 Chevrolet    1-14      50.014    179.950
Greg Clark/#53 Chevrolet      1-12      50.588    177.908

* = Electronic Times taken randomly throughout the test.

JEFF PURVIS TOPS DAY TWO OF DAYTONA NASCAR BUSCH SERIES TEST

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jeff Purvis and Phoenix Racing continued their strong showing in Speedweeks testing at Daytona International Speedway. Purvis was the fastest among the 41 teams on hand Saturday for NASCAR Busch Series testing in preparation for the Feb. 17 Goody's Headache Powders 300.

Talladega pole winner Purvis clocked in at 48.285 seconds, an average speed of 186.393 mph, for the fastest lap of the two days of testing.

Chad Little, the 1995 Goody's 300 winner, is showing a great deal of optimism as he looks toward the new season and the opening event of the series at Daytona.

"To win your first major NASCAR race at Daytona is unbelievable," reflected Little. "It's kind of overwhelming to think we're defending champions of the Goody's 300. We've got a brand new car, a new sponsor and a lot of enthusiasm for coming back here."

"We've got John Deere as our sponsor with a two year deal which includes us moving to Winson Cup in '97. Every team wants to move into Winston Cup but the determining factor is the sponsorship. It's a big jump from Busch to Cup."

"We're going to be racing the new Pontiac Grand Prix this year. We won six races last year with Ford so it was a big decision to move to Pontiac. We needed to move our program into the future. The timing was right in that Pontiac had the new body and was looking for new teams for '96."

TOP 20 BUSCH SERIES TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 13**

NO DRIVER/CAR                 SPEED
 4 Jeff Purvis/Chevrolet      186.393 mph
32 Dale Jarrett/Ford          185.993
57 Jason Keller/Chevrolet     185.897
 3 Jeff Green/Chevrolet       185.575
87 Joe Nemechek/Chevrolet     185.079
74 Randy LaJoie/Chevrolet     185.052
43 Rodney Combs/Chevrolet     185.002
23 Chad Little/Pontiac        184.843
64 Bobby Dotter/Chevrolet     184.517
71 Kevin Lepage/Chevrolet     184.351
40 Tim Fedewa/Ford            184.087
15 Tony Stewart/Pontiac       184.034
49 Stanton Barrett/Chevrolet  183.703
95 David Green/Chevrolet      183.606
47 Jeff Fuller/Chevrolet      183.531
02 Michael Ritch/Chevrolet    183.382
72 Mike Dillon/Chevrolet      183.344
54 Rich Bickle/Ford           183.236
63 Curtis Markham/Pontiac     183.221
98 Jeremy Mayfield/Ford       183.217 

* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.

GREEN QUICKEST AS THREE-DAY DAYTONA NASCAR BUSCH SERIES TEST OPENS

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jeff Green led a 37-team contingent on the opening day of NASCAR Busch Series testing at Daytona International Speedway. Green, driving for seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champ Dale Earnhardt, was the fastest among the drivers who took times in the test session Friday in preparation for the Feb. 17 Goody's Headache Powders 300.

Green, who finished fourth in last year's season-ending point standings, was clocked at 48.446 seconds, an average speed of 185.774 mph in his GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

"We're gaining on it," said an enthusiastic Green. "The team feels good because we've run faster than last year's pole speed already without having it taped up or nothing."

Green, entering his second full season as a Busch competitor, is eager to get the 1996 season underway. "The pressure is still there, I promise you. I've gotten a year under my belt in experience working with these guys and a full season on the race track. I think there can be only good things to come from this race team."

"The Goody's 300 is really what it's all about for the team, for team owner Dale Earnhardt and for myself. If we can run in the top five all day and have a chance at winning the race then I would be happy because the team would be happy. I think we've got the car to win, don't get me wrong, but there are a lot of variables in winning the race."

TOP 20 BUSCH SERIES TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 12*

NO DRIVER/CAR SPEED

 3   Jeff Green/Chevrolet     185.774 mph
32   Dale Jarrett/Ford        184.589
43   Rodney Combs/Pontiac     184.513
 9   Ted Musgrave/Ford        184.468
92   Larry Pearson/Chevrolet  184.415
57   Jason Keller/Chevrolet   184.200
74   Randy LaJoie/Chevrolet   184.026
23   Chad Little/Pontiac      183.501
15   Tony Stewart/Pontiac     183.449
71   Kevin Lepage/Chevrolet   183.389
72   Mike Dillon/Chevrolet    183.277
99   Glenn Allen Jr./Chevy    183.243
 4   Jeff Purvis/Chevrolet    183.105
70   Dale Fischlein/Chevrolet 182.704
63   Curtis Markham/Pontiac   182.667
64   Bobby Dotter/Chevrolet   182.637
00   Buckshot Jones/Ford      182.534
25   Johnny Rumley/Chevrolet  182.393
38   Dennis Setzer/Ford       182.338
95   David Green/Chevrolet    182.175

* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.

NOTES

DALE JARRETT (#32 Band-Aid Ford) -- We'll be running 18 Busch Series races this year. It's the most we've run in a while. We'll run all the companion races, those that run with Winston Cup races, and we'll also run the final race of the series at Homestead. We've got a good situation and a good sponsor in Band-Aid. It's a program we can grow with. The car we have here is the same one we put on the outside pole for last year's Goody's 300. It's been sitting in the shop since that race. We've tried a few things with the car so far. We feel like we're in pretty good shape, although just like in Winston Cup those Chevrolets are pretty fast.

(ON THE WINSTON CUP PROGRAM) -- I don't know what else we can do. We're maxed out with the rules they allow us. Until some changes are made it will be the same story as last year. We're going to have to do something in the Ford camp, build a special car or something. We can't expect NASCAR to give us everything, but if they want an equal playing field like they say then we need some more help because it's nowhere near close to equal.

PATTY MOISE (#14 Dial-Purex Ford) -- The team didn't come into existence until early November so we've been working really hard just to get things ready. On top of that, we had to put in 48 hours straight work so we could be ready for this test session with this new car. We're trying to play catch up right now, but that's the way it is with a brand new team. We are excited about the opportunity that our sponsor, Dial, has given us. It's great. We've got the new car plus we bought three other cars and a transporter from a team which raced some last season. We're rebuilding those cars and we'll see how they go. We have also ordered two new cars for the team. Basically, we're at it fast and furious.

JASON KELLER (#57 Slim Jim Chevrolet) -- We've got a new sponsor in Slim Jim, but we're the same hard working team as last year. The opportunities are there for a good season and we hope we can make the best of it. We've been running really good so far and we want to continue doing that when we come back for the (Goody's Headache Powders 300) race. We had a good season last year and we're looking for a better one this year. We want to be very competitive in the Goody's 300. We qualified eighth last year, ran well early on, fell off the pace a bit and eventually got caught up in an accident right at the end of the race and finished 18th.

Realistically, I think we can leave Daytona with a top 10 -- or better -- finish. I feel we've got a good qualifying car. Now we've got to work on getting it to handle good in the draft. If you start the season off good at Daytona it can snowball for you the rest of the year. My crew chief, Steve Addington, and I have worked together now for eight years. I think we're really coming into our own in the Busch Series. I feel more comfortable in knowing what to expect out of the cars and how to get what I want out of the car. I think you're going to see a more confident Jason Keller this year. I hope with the confidence comes performance. TONY STEWART (#15 Ranier Racing Pontiac) -- Being in Daytona is sure different than (Indianapolis) Raceway Park or Winchester. It feels good to be here, these guys have been working for over a year on getting this program together. It's been frustrating because we've been wanting to get down here for so long. Now that we have the opportunity it feels good to get behind the wheel down here. (On Ranier Racing) I guess these guys have been looking at some open wheel guys for some time, and with all of the exposure we get from ESPN running the open wheel cars, I guess they saw something there. They came up to one of the races and introduced themselves and we've been working together ever since.

(On Jeff Gordon) Anytime you get compared to Jeff Gordon, it has got to make you feel good. Jeff is such an excellent driver. But, I'm my own person and I don't want to be Jeff Gordon, I want to be my own person. The comparison does nothing but help me. If I can have half the success that Jeff has had, then I'll be all right. We'll just take it as it comes. (On possible driving choices) We haven't shut ourselves out on anything, we're concentrating on the stock car stuff right now, but if something should arise in IRL (Indy Racing League) we're certainly going to listen. Our main focus right now is to run Busch Grand National and some ARCA races. Anything else we do past that is secondary.

(On the Pontiac) The car has been excellent all week. By being a rookie here and not having any testing done before, I feel real comfortable with the race car. Gary Snipes is the crew chief and has done an excellent job, the car is comfortable, the new body style is great, I think I've got a good race car sitting underneath me! We'll probably run 18-20 BGN races and 5-6 ARCA races. We haven't decided if we're going to run for rookie-of-the-year honors yet -- once we get our scheduling done we will make that decision.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Rich Bickle , Derrike Cope , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Jason Keller , Jeff Fuller , Joe Nemechek , Jeff Green , Kevin Lepage , Buckshot Jones , Ted Musgrave , Mike McLaughlin , Andy Belmont , Dennis Setzer , Bobby Dotter , Chad Little , Jeff Purvis , David Green , Mike Harmon , Peter Gibbons , Stanton Barrett , Jimmy Kitchens , L.W. Miller , Johnny R
Teams Phoenix Racing