PAUL TRACY, JEFF GORDON, DALE JARRETT AND CARL EDWARDS AMONG DRIVERS TESTING ON DAY TWO AT MIS BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Paul Tracy acted a bit surprised at the group of media members assembled outside the Richard Childress Racing...
PAUL TRACY, JEFF GORDON, DALE JARRETT AND CARL EDWARDS AMONG DRIVERS TESTING ON DAY TWO AT MIS
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Paul Tracy acted a bit surprised at the group of media members assembled outside the Richard Childress Racing transporter Tuesday during the break in testing at Michigan International Speedway. Even though he was all business during the two-day test, he had time to joke with reporters about all the attention he was receiving for his two-day venture into testing stock cars.
"Hey guys, Jeff's transporter is over there," joked the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion, as he was referring to the transporter of four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon who normally gets plenty of attention from the media.
Tracy, along with Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett and a slew of NASCAR Busch Series teams completed the second day of testing in preparation for the upcoming GFS Marketplace 400 and Domino's Pizza 250 race weekend at MIS. While Tracy completed his second day of incident-free testing, Gordon joined the test session on Tuesday, where he was looking to get back on track and make the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
Tracy, who has raced in 11 career open-wheel events at MIS since 1991, still holds the open-wheel qualifying record of 234.949 mph, which he set in July of 2000. His highest finish at MIS came in 1992 when he placed second.
After completing the test, it will be up to Richard Childress and team management to see if he will return next week to attempt to qualify for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series GFS Marketplace 400.
"We'll see if we come back," Tracy said. "Ultimately it's Richard's (Childress) decision and the team's decision whether we come back. I feel that I've done well so we'll see what he says. He's on vacation until tomorrow so I'll probably talk to him then and they'll make the decision."
Other drivers who completed laps on the MIS oval included Dale Jarrett in the #88 UPS Ford, Jeremy Mayfield in the #19 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge, Sterling Marlin in the #40 Coors Light Dodge and Carl Edwards, who tested his Busch Series car, the #60 Charter Communications Ford.
Others NASCAR Busch Series drivers included Paul Menard in the #11 Menard's Chevrolet, J.J. Yeley in the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet, Ashton Lewis Jr. in the #25 U.S. Marines Ford, Reed Sorenson in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge and Justin Labonte in the #44 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet, who was also joined by #87 Joe Nemechek on Tuesday only.
Jarrett, a four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series winner at MIS, is hoping the GFS Marketplace 400 will be one of the races that get him back in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.
"This has always been a very good track for us," said Jarrett. "We didn't run well here in June and have struggled on the 1.5 and 2-mile tracks all year. Over the years, those have been our bread and butter, so we wanted to come here today and see if we can get the magic back."
While Jarrett was a casual observer of Paul Tracy's first run in a stock car, he was more concerned about getting the UPS Ford back on track.
"I met him and have watched him race for a long time," Jarrett said of Tracy. "With no disrespect, if he comes to race next weekend, that's not one of our concerns. Our concern is making the Chase and that's all we're focused on."
Another driver looking to learn more about his car on the 2-mile MIS oval on Monday and Tuesday was Carl Edwards, who tested his NASCAR Busch Series Charter Communications car.
Edwards made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut at MIS in August of last year finishing 10th, which makes the facility a special place for him.
"I love coming to Michigan," said Edwards. "I love this track because it's where I made my first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start and I've had good luck here in the Craftsman Truck Series."
Edwards was also asked of his opinion of the Paul Tracy which has had many in the racing world talking over the past week.
"It would be cool to see him run at the NEXTEL Cup level," Edwards said. "Paul is a fun guy to watch and I've always enjoyed watching him race. He seems like a pretty tough dude. I don't know if we would give him too much of a hard time. He'll go through the same stuff we all went through in our first few races."
Tickets are still available for the NASCAR Busch Series Domino's Pizza 250 on Saturday, August 20, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 on Friday, August 19. Children 12 and under admitted free to both events. Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series activities include NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series qualifying, along with a concert by the country sensation Sugarland following the Domino's Pizza 250. All tickets can be purchased now by visiting www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.