Dale Earnhardt Jr. Quickest in Martinsville Test

Martinsville, VA---Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was the fastest again in testing at Martinsville Speedway for the Goody's Body Pain 500 but Stacy Compton, Johnny Benson and Scott Pruett weren't far behind. Earnhardt, Benson, Pruett and...

Martinsville, VA---Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was the fastest again in testing at Martinsville Speedway for the Goody's Body Pain 500 but Stacy Compton, Johnny Benson and Scott Pruett weren't far behind. Earnhardt, Benson, Pruett and Dave Blaney finished a two-day test session on Wednesday and Compton tested for the first of two days. Earnhardt ran a 19.97 seconds, 94.822 miles per hour lap, Compton had a lap of 20.06 seconds, 94.396 mph, and Benson and Pruett each ran a 20.09 seconds, 94.255 mph lap on the .526-mile track. The track qualifying record is 19.875 seconds, 95.275 mph set by Tony Stewart a year ago. "The car is real comfortable and everything is running along pretty smooth for us," Earnhardt said of his Budweiser Chevrolet. It was going well enough the team packed up after making a short post lunch run and went home to prepare for the trip to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Benson, coming off a second place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway, worked on race setup for most of the two days, and made several tries in qualifying trim Wednesday afternoon. "We are never real happy, but we are happy with the way the car is running right now. We still have some things that we will probably work on when we come back," said the driver of the Lycos.com Pontiac. Compton plans a second day of testing but, due to a threat of rain on Thursday, they attempted three qualifying runs in the Cougar-Melling Ford and came up with a 20.06 seconds lap. "We ended up pretty good. That last run, we didn't put any stickers on, we ran a .06. We really didn't have the time to do the things we wanted to do," he said. "The first time out we ran a .30, the second time out we ran a .29 and then we make some wholesale changes and ran an .06. For a quick qualifying setup, we are pretty pleased right now. I think we are in the hunt." Pruett and the Tide Ford team made several qualifying runs in the afternoon and kept improving to a 20.09. "We are getting closer. We ran a lot of 20.10's and 20.11's. We'll keep working on the car when we come back. It's not quite where we want it, but at least we are in the ballpark. We'll go through the data and see how we can improve for when we come back next week." Pruett said testing is extremely important to their efforts. "A lot of these tracks we've been testing at I've never been to before. Rockingham, Darlington, Bristol and here it's my first adventure to these places, and I have a lot to learn not only with the track but with the car," he said. Pruett said he has never raced or seen anything like Martinsville. "There isn't, there wasn't, there hasn't been, and I doubt I will every see anything like this again," Pruett said. "But it is actually pretty exciting. You brake pretty hard and you have to have your car working pretty well to hook up and drag race down these straights. The straights are actually pretty long and you can drive in too deep on either end and really take away a lot of time from your lap." Blaney, like Earnhardt, finished testing his Amoco Pontiac about lunchtime and had worked his times down to a 20.15 seconds, 93.975 mph lap. "It's a tricky little track as far as learning how to brake and when to brake and how much to brake. It can really upset the car," Blaney said. "I was trying all different ways of doing it. I was trying to watch the other guys as much as I could, and I will be watching everybody when I come back." The Goody's Body Pain 500/NAPA 250 weekend gets with Craftsman Truck Series time trials at 1:40 p.m. on Friday, April 7 followed by Bud Pole qualifying for the Winston Cup Series at 3 p.m. The NAPA 250 Craftsman Truck race starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 and tickets are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. The Goody's Body Pain 500 begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 9 and great seats are still available for the race in the Bill France and Old Dominion Towers. For tickets call toll-free at 1-877-RACE-TIX. Tickets for Martinsville Speedway's family section for parents with children ages 6-12 go on sale race morning at 7:30. Adult tickets in the family section are $40 and children ages 6-12 get in for $5. For more information on the Goody's Body Pain 500 go to www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Tony Stewart , Scott Pruett , Johnny Benson , Dave Blaney