Daytona Test: Day one report

Compton Turning Heads In First Day Of Winston Cup Testing DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 7, 2002) - Stacy Compton is getting off on the right foot with his new ride during the first day of NASCAR Winston Cup Series testing at Daytona International...

Compton Turning Heads In First Day Of Winston Cup Testing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 7, 2002) - Stacy Compton is getting off on the right foot with his new ride during the first day of NASCAR Winston Cup Series testing at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 44th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 17.

Compton, who was named last week as the new driver of the No. 14 Conseco Pontiac fielded by A.J. Foyt Racing, kept his name atop the speed chart throughout Monday's session, posting a fast lap of 183.087 mph, which was good enough for second overall for the day. The fastest of Monday's test session was Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Jimmie Johnson, who turned a lap of 183.120 in the No. 48 Lowe's Home Imrpovement Warehouse.

"We were pretty happy with it right off the truck," Compton said. "There are a lot of people out here probably sandbagging. That's all part of the game. To unload and be decent, we're pretty happy."

Both the 34-year-old Compton and A.J. Foyt Racing are entering their third year of Winston Cup competition and both parties are hungry for some success. Neither Compton or A.J. Foyt Racing have found Victory Lane yet. Compton is hopeful the driver-team combination will produce results.

"Just the opportunity to race for A.J. Foyt is pretty special to me," Compton said. "I grew up watching him. I told the guys, 'you think about anything that can happen to us or will happen to us, A.J. has been there and done that.' It's happened to him.

"It's going to be a lot of fun. I know it's going to be a lot of work. We're going to have some good times and some bad times. I think I'm probably as an intense a racer as A.J. is. I may show it a little bit different, but I think we both give 110 percent."

For the last two seasons, the Hurt, Va., native has been driving for Melling Racing and the No. 92 Dodge. He found plenty of success last year on the restrictor-plate tracks at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway.

He sat on the outside pole for the Daytona 500 and started third in the Pepsi 400 while at Talladega, he won both poles. This year, he hopes for continued restrictor-plate success with A.J. Foyt Racing.

"These guys built a good car and brought it here," Compton said. "If you run fast here, it's because you've got a really good car and a really good motor. I think we've got a little of both. We need to be a little bit better. I think by the end of the day, some people are going to pick up some speed. Hopefully, we will too."

The three-day test session is vital to Compton and his team, led by crew chief Donnie Brown. Both Compton and Brown are working on developing the driver-crew chief relationship.

"Anytime you start with a new team, it takes time," Compton said. "It takes time to get the understanding between the crew chief and the driver. When I say it's a little loose, what is a little? We're going to try to test a lot early on (in the season) so we can get the communication level between myself and Donnie figured out so he knows what a little loose is and what a little tight is."

Compton plans to not only compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series with A.J. Foyt Racing, but he'll also run a full Busch Series schedule for owner Tad Geschickter. Therefore, Compton will be busying during Speedweeks, racing in both the Daytona 500 and the EAS/GNC Live Well 300 Busch Series race.

Said Compton: "These cars are so similar, especially here since they have gone back to the old aero package. I think things you learn here today you can put on the Busch car and when we come back in a couple weeks (for the Busch Series test) hopefully we can learn some things to take back to the Cup car."

Winston Cup testing continues on Tuesday and is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA. Tickets for Speedweeks 2002 activities can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

-dis-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Stacy Compton , Jimmie Johnson , A.J. Foyt