BUSCH: Dodge tests at Kentucky

Dodge sets test at Kentucky Speedway By Dave Rodman SPARTA, Ky. (Nov. 28, 2000) Dodge Intrepids representing three of the five teams that will field the make in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series will open a two-day test Wednesday at Kentucky ...

Dodge sets test at Kentucky Speedway
By Dave Rodman

SPARTA, Ky. (Nov. 28, 2000) Dodge Intrepids representing three of the five teams that will field the make in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series will open a two-day test Wednesday at Kentucky Speedway.

The moderately banked 1.5-mile trioval speedway, located between Cincinnati and Louisville, Ky., debuted this season as a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series venue and is on the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division schedule. In its short history it has become a popular test venue.

The weather is seen as the biggest issue this week. Nine teams from the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division attempted to test Monday but a wet track kept them idle until Tuesday. Track spokesperson Sue Miller reported overcast conditions with temperatures around 40 degrees for the test.

Despite that, 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Greg Biffle got his first taste of a Busch car at Kentucky with positive results. Driving a No. 9 NorthernLight.com Ford that was used this season by Roush Racing teammate Jeff Burton, Biffle unofficially logged a hand-timed lap in 30.14 seconds, an average speed of about 179.164 mph.

According to Miller, other drivers on hand included NBS champion Jeff Green and ppc Racing teammate Jason Keller, who got their first experience with the Ford Tauruses they will use next season. Green was clocked in 30.3 seconds, 178.218 mph on the track that has 14-degree banking in the corners.

Cicci-Welliver Racing teammates David Green and Tim Fedewa, Marty Houston and Blaise Alexander in the Team SABCO cars they drove in 2000, Randy LaJoie and Joe Nemechek also tested.

No one has tested more at the Kentucky oval than the Dodge teams, however. According to Miller Wednesday's test will mark the "fifth or sixth time" Dodges have run at the track. She said Petty Enterprises test driver Steve Grissom probably holds the unofficial mileage lead in testing.

Teams from Petty Enterprises, Bill Davis Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates all planned to be at the test, which has Friday reserved as a rain date. The only team that had opted out of the session was Melling Racing, which planned to take three cars to the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta, Ga., Friday, according to a team spokesman.

"Our next test session for sure is Las Vegas on Jan. 6-7," Melling spokesman Lake Speed Jr. said Tuesday while counting cars on his fingers. "We're in a heavy car building mode right now. We have three complete, the fourth chassis came into the shop yesterday, the fifth is coming in later this week and the sixth is about to go out and get the body put on it.

"I'm not saying we definitely won't go anywhere else to test, but that's the plan. That will hopefully give them plenty of opportunity to get the engine situation where it needs to be."

Davis said his team planned to test with both its NWC drivers, Ward Burton and Dave Blaney. Sterling Marlin was planning to wheel both Ganassi Dodges. Miller said it was her understanding at least team principal Kyle Petty would drive his team's car.

"We are planning to run two cars so we can gain more knowledge, run twice as many laps and miles," Davis said. "The body locations are a little different on the two cars so we'll be checking that, and if we get enough done we want to try to run both cars on the track at the same time, to run them together in real world racing conditions to see what we can learn from there."

Davis acknowledged some motor hiccups had occurred but did not say it was a major issue.

"We got behind on our testing with the motor problems, so we're trying to cram every lap in between now and when we start racing as we can," Davis said. "I'm gradually becoming more comfortable and more confident as we get in more testing and development.

"It was a casting problem with the blocks -- really kind of a simple mistake -- that put us back several weeks but we feel like we've recovered and we're back on track. The more miles we run the more confidence we have." -nascar.com-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Jason Keller , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , Sterling Marlin , Marty Houston , Blaise Alexander , David Green , Chip Ganassi , Dave Blaney , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Bill Davis Racing