Andretti posts winter's fastest lap -- 188.739 mph -- at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 14) -- John Andretti, who suffered one of the biggest disappointments of his racing career in the 1996 Daytona 500, Tuesday posted the fastest...
Andretti posts winter's fastest lap -- 188.739 mph -- at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 14) -- John Andretti, who suffered one of the biggest disappointments of his racing career in the 1996 Daytona 500, Tuesday posted the fastest lap of the winter in NASCAR Winston Cup stock car testing at Daytona International Speedway, 188.739 mph, while preparing for the Feb. 16 running of "The World's Greatest Race." Andretti, who led during the first half of the 1996 Daytona 500, lost a lap after a miscue in the pits and then crashed while trying to regain it. He was all smiles Tuesday after he turned a lap in 47.685 seconds in the Yarborough Motorsports Ford that former driver Jeremy Mayfield put on the pole last year for the Sears DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Rounding out the top five speeds Tuesday were Greg Sacks in the Ranier-Walsh Thunderbird, 187.770; Rusty Wallace in the Penske Racing bird, 185.586; Bobby Hillin in the Jasper Motorsports Ford, 185.525; and Jimmy Spencer in Travis Carter's T-bird, 185.487. "We had a bent throttle linkage yesterday and didn't know it," said Andretti with a smile Tuesday. "The guys don't tell me a lot about set-ups, but I think there's something left in the car. It gets through the corners pretty well, and if you've got a car that's handling that well and is fast, it's a good package." The Ford test concludes Wednesday. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with access through the DAYTONA USA lobby. Guided Speedway Tours are also available. More than 20 NASCAR Busch Series teams are expected for a two-day test on Thursday. "This team's been more than capable of doing that right along," Andretti continued. "They work really hard on their stuff. We're not a big team, but we've got a real good motor program. And we're building a new shop in Concord (N.C.) that should make the operation even better." "Daytona is important," said Andretti when asked why the team had returned for the second Ford test after running well in the first session, Jan. 3-5. "It's extremely important to me, it's important to my car owner and to the sponsors. There's no better way to set the stage for the season than to come to Daytona and have a pretty good performance." Andretti, who said the Daytona 500 disappointment of a year ago was "the hardest thing for me to deal with since I've been in stock cars," appears to be well on the way to making a mark at Speedweeks. "Tony Santanicola (engine builder) and (crew chief) Tony Furr asked me to come to this team, and they said if I did they wouldn't go anywhere. I've made the same promise to them. "They've got a strong unit and they believe in each other. I'll tell you this -- I had more confidence in this team before I ever sat in their cars than I've ever had anywhere else."
FORD TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 14* NO DRIVER/CAR SPEED 98 John Andretti 188.739 mph 20 Greg Sacks 187.770 2 Rusty Wallace 185.586 77 Bobby Hillin 185.525 23 Jimmy Spencer 185.487 37 Jeremy Mayfield 185.319 90 Dick Trickle 185.212 75 Rick Mast 184.763 6 Mark Martin 184.578 10 Ricky Rudd 184.555 7 Geoff Bodine 183.359 15 Larry Pearson 183.187 11 Brett Bodine 182.737 21 Michael Waltrip 182.641 16 Ted Musgrave 182.504 19 Loy Allen 182.493 81 Kenny Wallace 179.058 0 Delma Cowart 177.609 * = Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.