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