Daytona Rudd testing notes 96-07-17

Rudd ups ante in second day of Daytona test DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 17) -- Ricky Rudd left Daytona International Speedway Wednesday comfortable that he had a competitive car for the July 28 Sears DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. ...

Rudd ups ante in second day of Daytona test

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 17) -- Ricky Rudd left Daytona International Speedway Wednesday comfortable that he had a competitive car for the July 28 Sears DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. "We've got a car that will race real well and one that will qualify near the front," said Rudd after he capped his second extended day of testing at 6 p.m. with a lap of nearly 186 mph. "At the Pepsi 400 we had to take a provisional spot -- that was pretty intimidating and pretty frustrating. "Now we've got two cars that, although they may not be pole contenders, they're pretty equal and they'll qualify real respectable. We're definitely more comfortable going there knowing we've got a car that can qualify well up in the field." Rudd was timed at 48.50 seconds on Tuesday, 185.567 mph. He bumped that up a slight bit on Wednesday -- to about 48.43, 185.835 -- after making miniscule adjustments to the car he had used in the Busch Clash of '96 earlier this year at Daytona, the Winston Select 500 at Talladega and the Pepsi 400. "We came a long way these two days. We really had to scratch to find a little bit here and a little bit there. When we found something that helped we explored that a little bit more, things like air pressure, cowls and little aerodynamic things -- but we found a lot more things that didn't work!. "That's the way it is these days. The horsepower has been pretty much a constant, but then you have to work that much harder within the rules to refine the cars to find a tenth of a second here and there. It makes the mechanics get real creative. "It was interesting, I'll tell you that much. As the spoiler angles have come up and the drag has increased on the cars all the little refinements make more of a difference than they ever did before. If we had one more day I believe we could've squeezed a little bit more out of it. "In hindsight we thought maybe we should've run the Daytona 500 car here for the Pepsi 400 because it had run well in February, qualifying and finishing in the top 10," Rudd said. "But in this test the Daytona 500 car was as slow as the car we tried to run in the 400, which had been wrecked at Talladega and re-skinned. "You can't run a new superspeedway car without testing it first is what we found out. We spent most of our time -- a day-and- a-half -- working on strictly opened-up racing configurations." Practice for the Sears DieHard 500 will begin on Friday, July 26. Rudd was also testing for Speedweeks '97, Feb. 5-16.

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Series NASCAR Cup