Brickyard Testing Times

Wallace tops list at Indy test session INDIANAPOLIS (July 17, 1998) Rusty Wallace, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, topped the list of more than 40 NASCAR Winston Cup drivers testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week in preparation...

Wallace tops list at Indy test session

INDIANAPOLIS (July 17, 1998) Rusty Wallace, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, topped the list of more than 40 NASCAR Winston Cup drivers testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week in preparation for the Aug. 1 Brickyard 400.

Testing is expected to continue next week with a private three-day General Motors test session, Sunday through Tuesday.

Wallace and "Front Row Joe" Nemechek were the only drivers to surpass the 177 mph mark. Wallace turned a fast lap of 177.504 mph on Wednesday in the Miller Lite Ford, while Nemechek was clocked at 177.204 in the BellSouth Chevrolet. Some 42 drivers logged 2,166 laps around the 2.5-mile oval in 69 cars on Wednesday.

Most of the faster speeds throughout the four days of testing were recorded on Wednesday. Ward Burton (176.439 mph), Jeremy Mayfield (176.724), Jeff Gordon (176.370), track record holder Ernie Irvan (176.308) and Dale Jarrett (176.118) all topped the 176 mph plateau that day.

Irvan, who has had a pair of strong runs -- including a runner-up finish in 1996 to teammate Dale Jarrett, was particularly pleased with his test. One of the two cars he used was involved in a wreck earlier this year in The Winston at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He drove the other in the Coca-Cola 600 a week later at CMS.

"We take one car out and do engine stuff and with the other we try to go fast," said Irvan, winner of the 1991 Daytona 500, in summing up his test strategy. "Then we take the best information from the two cars and put them on one car and see how it goes. We're shaping up pretty well. We had a full day of testing and a whole night of thinking. We're doing everything we can."

Irvan, driver of the Skittles Pontiac, called the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a superspeedway without banks.

"You do what you do at Talladega and Daytona," he said. "You try to get the car down lower."

Irvan nearly won the inaugural Brickyard in 1994, pitting for a tire change after leading near the finish. In 1996, Irvan chased teammate Dale Jarrett across the finish line in second place. Last year he placed 10th.

"As far as me being a driver, this race track doesn't owe me one, I don't think that way," he said. "Of the two races I was competitive in, I should have won one of them."

Earlier in the week, Jimmy Spencer, driver of the No. 23 Team Winston Ford Taurus, was the fastest among all teams on both Monday and Tuesday. Spencer's top speed was set on Tuesday at 175.743 mph. He didn't participate on either Wednesday or Thursday.

After nearly a four-month layoff following an accident in practice for the PRIMESTAR 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 6, Steve Park returned to the saddle of the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet to join the Indianapolis test session. Park's top speed was set on Wednesday, when he turned a fast lap of 174.091 mph in one of three cars he was supposed to have at the test.

"It feels good to be back in the Pennzoil Monte Carlo, especially at a track like Indianapolis," Park said. "This is a place I have watched on television and even visited a few times, but never raced on. Man, is it smooth. This place and Las Vegas are the two smoothest tracks I've been on.

"It didn't take too long to get back to feeling normal behind the wheel. I think maybe four or five laps and it was like I'd never been gone. I'm in better shape now than before the wrecks, so physically this week wasn't a problem.

"It was real hot there all three days and I sweated a lot, but other than that there were no problems. The only problem we had this week was getting the car up to speed. We weren't bad. But, we weren't at the top of the chart, either."

Several General Motors teams will participate in a three-day private test session at IMS Sunday-Tuesday. Among those testing will be the Richard Childress-owned teams, the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet with driver Dale Earnhardt and the No. 31 Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet with driver Mike Skinner.

On Wednesday, Lake Speed banged the wall in the north chute with the right rear and then right front, but was able to drive the Cartoon Network Ford into the garage area. The 69 different cars took to the asphalt on Wednesday were short of the high number of 83 that practiced and recorded 2,521 laps on Aug. 5, 1994, the day before the first Brickyard 400.

A driver still has not been named for the No. 13 FIRSTPLUS Financial Ford owned by Bill Elliott and NFL quarterback Dan Marino, although two drivers, Dennis Setzer and ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series regular Frank Kimmel, tested the car at Indianapolis this week. NASCAR Winston Cup Cumulative Testing Speeds At Indianapolis Motor Speedway, July 13 - 16

Pos. No.  Driver           Speed  
  1.   2  Rusty Wallace    177.504 mph  
  2.  42  Joe Nemechek     177.204 mph  
  3.  12  Jeremy Mayfield  176.724 mph  
  4.  22  Ward Burton      176.430 mph  
  5.  24  Jeff Gordon      176.370 mph  
  6.  36  Ernie Irvan      176.308 mph  
  7.  88  Dale Jarrett     176.118 mph  
  8.   6  Mark Martin      175.884 mph  
  9.  23  Jimmy Spencer    175.743 mph  
 10.  10  Ricky Rudd       175.541 mph  
 11.  77  Robert Pressley  175.463 mph  
 12.  21  Michael Waltrip  175.271 mph  
 13.  50  Ricky Craven     175.217 mph  
 14.  43  John Andretti    175.016 mph  
 15.  46  Jeff Green       174.982 mph  
 16.  40  Sterling Marlin  174.846 mph
 17.  28  Kenny Irwin      174.737 mph  
 18.  26  Johnny Benson    174.659 mph  
 19.  51  Elton Sawyer     174.189 mph  
 20.   1  Steve Park       174.091 mph  
 21.  19  Robby Gordon     174.004 mph  
 22.  99  Jeff Burton      173.990 mph  
 23.  11  Brett Bodine     173.900 mph  
 24.  90  Dick Trickle     173.614 mph  
 25.   5  Terry Labonte    173.534 mph  
 26.   9  Lake Speed       172.994 mph  
 27.  44  Kyle Petty       173.300 mph  
 28.  15  Tim Steele       172.834 mph  
 29.  97  Chad Little      172.765 mph  
 30.  92  Elliott Sadler   172.655 mph  
 31.  52  Wally Dallenbach 172.546 mph  
 32.   7  Geoff Bodine     172.387 mph  
 33.  81  Kenny Wallace    171.880 mph  
 34.  81  Mike Wallace     171.864 mph  
 35.  94  Bill Elliott     171.080 mph  
 36.  22  Dave Blaney      171.008 mph  
 37.  07  Dan Pardus       170.843 mph  
 38.  95  Andy Hillenburg  169.607 mph  
 39.  35  Jeff Ward        169.626 mph  
 40.  13  Dennis Setzer    169.167 mph  
 41.  13  Frank Kimmel     167.688 mph 
 42.  19  Tony Raines      167.666 mph

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Brett Bodine , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Dick Trickle , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Jeff Green , Elton Sawyer , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Mike Wallace , Robert Pressley , Jeff Ward , Johnny Benson , Tony Raines , Frank Kimmel , Ricky Craven , Dennis Setzer , Andy Hillenburg , Chad Little , Tim Steele , Elliott Sadler , Dave Blaney , Mark Martin