Daytona Test: First test session report, results

Cam Strader Making Strides In Pursuit Of First Daytona Win DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 13, 2002) * During the 2001 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series, Cam Strader accomplished almost everything. He won four races, claimed four poles, posted 16 top-10 ...

Cam Strader Making Strides In Pursuit Of First Daytona Win

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 13, 2002) * During the 2001 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series, Cam Strader accomplished almost everything. He won four races, claimed four poles, posted 16 top-10 finishes and captured his first championship in dominating fashion.

But one thing missing from Strader's mantle was a victory at Daytona International Speedway. The famed 2.5-mile tri-oval seems to be giving the 22-year-old native of Wilson, N.C. a hard time.

NASCAR Goody's Dash Series driver Cam Strader.
Photo by Daytona International Speedway.

During his rookie season in 2000, Strader, then driving a car designed for a short track, failed to qualify at Daytona. Last year, he started fifth and finished eight in the February race, while in the July DAYTONA USA.com 150, he won the pole but finished 26th after getting collected in an accident.

Besides wanting to repeat as this year's NASCAR Goody's Dash Series champion, Strader would like to finally win at Daytona when he gets his chance in the season-opening Feb. 9 DAYTONA USA 150, the same day as NASCAR Winston Cup Series Bud Pole Qualifying for the Daytona 500. Strader has gotten off to a good start in this two-day test this weekend, posting the second fastest speed on Sunday with a lap of 164.817 mph.

"How many people get a chance to race at Daytona International Speedway?," Strader quipped. "To win a race here would be awesome. Probably my worst record for a race track is here. I definitely think I have something to prove here. I know I can do a lot better than my record. We'll just take it like it comes."

Strader, who drives the No. 6 Wesson Cooking Oil Ford, has a new car this year at Daytona. He'll switch to a Ford Escort for the superspeedway races while he'll continue to run the Mercury Cougar on the short tracks. With the Ford Escort, Strader says he'll have less drag which will improve his chances of winning at Daytona.

"It's easier to hit a golf ball through the air than a tennis ball," said Strader, who earned 2000 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Rookie of the Year honors. "It's just a better, slicker car for down here."

Strader, who last year never started outside the top 10 the entire season, is beginning to explore his options beyond the Goody's Dash Series. While running the full Goody's Dash Series schedule this year, he'll also compete in a few ARCA RE/MAX Series races.

According to Strader, picking the right way to move up the ladder in the stock car racing world is not an easy choice.

"There's so many ways you could go," said Strader, who drives for his father Steve Strader. "So many variables play into your decision on which path you take. How much money you have? What your schedule looks like? Where you want to race? Where you have experience at? There's so many things. We're hoping we're taking the right path."

The second wave of Winston Cup teams will invade the Speedway on Monday for a three-day test. The test session is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.

Tickets for Speedweeks 2002 and the Feb. 9 DAYTONA USA 150 are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

<pre> NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Test Session Top 10 Speeds, 1-13-02 1. Larry Caudill, Pontiac, 164,868 mph 2. Cam Strader, Ford, 164.817 3. Justin Hobgood, Pontiac, 163.964 4. Scott Krehling, Pontiac, 163.922 5. David Hutto, Pontiac, 162.022 6. Randy Humphrey, Pontiac, 161.603 7. Chuck Gafrarar, Pontiac, 161.589 8. Steven Christian, Pontiac, 161.444 9. Angie Wilson, Pontiac, 161.334 10. Scott Weaver, Pontiac, 160.772

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Cam Strader , Angie Wilson , Justin Hobgood