California Speedway West test first day notes

Wednesday marked the first day of testing at California Speedway for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers in the 2005 season. The day was highlighted by press conferences held for Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Elliott Sadler and Jeremy Mayfield, all...

Wednesday marked the first day of testing at California Speedway for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers in the 2005 season. The day was highlighted by press conferences held for Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Elliott Sadler and Jeremy Mayfield, all former winners at the superspeedway.

High winds were the topic of conversation for today's testing session as speeds neared 35 mph. Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) said, "It just moves your car that much. If anyone has ever driven anything that big in windy conditions, it's amazing to feel the car buffering around that much."

In testing action, Kasey Kahne's (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) tire ruptured, sending him into the wall. After being reviewed by the doctors, the 2004 Auto Club 500 pole sitter was released in good health, with the only damage coming to the backside of his car.

Drivers continued to become more acquainted with the new spoiler and gear ratios that will be implemented for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Auto Club 500 on February 17, just one week after the season opening Daytona 500. "I think we were all nervous and thought the cars were going to be very evil to drive and undriveable at times, but they haven't been that way," Johnson said.

The day also saw an excited announcement of the Fontana Race Week that will take place later this month. Kicking off the Auto Club 500 weekend will be the Fontana RaceFest, featuring displays, show cars, driver appearances and is sure to be the largest free sports-related fan event in California. The week will also include the Monte Carlo Night on the eve of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series American Racing Wheels 200. On Saturday, a Hot Rod Cruise will accompany the NASCAR Busch Series Stater Bros. 300. The week will then be capped off with the NEXTEL Cup Series race on Sunday.

Kicking off the festivities for the evening, Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, Joe Nemechek and Scott Riggs partook in the Fan Forum.

Tickets to February's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Auto Club 500 are on sale. For more information, call 800-944-RACE [7223] or visit www.californiaspeedway.com.

-cs-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jeremy Mayfield , Joe Nemechek , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Scott Riggs , Kasey Kahne , Elliott Sadler