Preseason testing begins at Daytona By Brett Borden DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 1, 1999) As many as five Ford teams are expected at Daytona International Speedway Sunday to begin NASCAR Winston Cup Series preseason testing for the upcoming ...
Preseason testing begins at Daytona By Brett Borden
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 1, 1999) As many as five Ford teams are expected at Daytona International Speedway Sunday to begin NASCAR Winston Cup Series preseason testing for the upcoming Daytona 500, set for Feb. 14. Drivers Dick Trickle, Ricky Craven, Robert Pressley, Mark Gibson and Mike Harmon are scheduled to test at the 2.5-mile track for two days, Sunday and Monday. The Ford test begins nearly a solid month of testing that leads up to Speedweeks '99, which begins Jan. 28 with practice and qualifying for the Rolex 24 At Daytona sports car race. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand is open during testing at no charge, with access through the lobby of DAYTONA USA. Craven and Harmon are with new teams in 1999, while Trickle is scheduled to test for owner/driver Bill Elliott. Trickle has no definite NASCAR Winston Cup Series plans for 1999, while the status of the No. 13 team is also up in the air. Craven will spend next season behind the wheel of Fords fielded by SBIII Motorsports, which is owned by Florida businessman Scott Barbour. Veteran car owner Junie Donlavey will field cars for Harmon, who is scheduled to compete for NASCAR Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in 1999 along with Tony Stewart, Buckshot Jones and Elliott Sadler, among others. Pressley will test the No. 77 Ford Taurus for Jasper Motorsports, while Daytona Beach native Gibson, a regular ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series driver, will test a Ford with hopes of making his hometown NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. The Ford teams return to test at Daytona Jan. 12-13, while the General Motors contingent is set to test Jan. 6-7 and Jan. 19-20. The only confirmed team for GM's first session is the No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet team, owned by Richard Childress and normally piloted by Mike Skinner. Due to Skinner's recovery from off-season knee surgery, veteran Dave Marcis will be handling driving duties during the test session. One other team with definite plans for Daytona is the No. 55 Square D Chevrolet team owned by Andy Petree and driven by Kenny Wallace. The team plans on using several of its testing dates at tracks that comprise the early part of the 1999 schedule. According to crew chief Jimmy Elledge, the team plans to test at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham on Sunday and Monday, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 11-12 and at Daytona Jan. 19-20. "We'll have a full month of January," said Elledge, who added that there's a method to the team's early testing madness. "The reason we picked that strategy is that next year, being a new team, we'll have no provisionals. We need to get in the races, get in in the first round and hopefully we'll be high enough in the points to be able to have provisionals to fall back on later in the year." Teams competing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona have the track Jan. 9-11, while the Goody's Dash Series, a part of the NASCAR Touring Division, and the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division also have scheduled test dates. Goody's Dash Series teams are at Daytona Jan. 15-16, while the NASCAR Busch Series teams will use the track Jan. 17-18. Speedweeks '99 begins with Rolex 24 practice and qualifying Jan. 28 and concludes with the prestigious Daytona 500 Feb. 14. For ticket information for any Speedweeks event, call (904) 253-7223, or visit: http://www.DAYTONAUSA.com.
Source: NASCAR Online