Daytona testing notes 96-01-11

JARRETT STILL FASTEST AS FORD TEAMS CLOSE TESTING AT DAYTONA DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 11) -- Dale Jarrett recorded the fastest time for the final day of Ford NASCAR Winston Cup stock car testing Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

JARRETT STILL FASTEST AS FORD TEAMS CLOSE TESTING AT DAYTONA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 11) -- Dale Jarrett recorded the fastest time for the final day of Ford NASCAR Winston Cup stock car testing Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Jarrett, driving for Robert Yates Racing, was the fastest among four Winston Cup drivers who took times in the test session in preparation for the Feb. 18 Daytona 500.

Jarrett, the 1993 Daytona 500 winner, was clocked at 48.228 seconds, an average speed of 186.614 mph in his new Quality Care/Ford Credit Thunderbird.

Mike Wallace, the younger brother of former NASCAR Winston Cup champion Rusty, was happy to finally get to Daytona and shake down his two Ford Thunderbirds after Junie Donlavey Racing was a day late in arriving in Daytona due to severe weather conditions in the Carolinas earlier in the week.

"The team went through a lot of work to get ready to come down. But it worked out pretty well so far because there's not many cars here so you are able to get a lot of track time."

"There was a lot of motor testing we wanted to do that we weren't able to. The weather just basically set us back a day. We may end up going to Talladega next week to do the motor stuff."

After one and a half frustrating days of testing, Wallace was still cautiously optimistic. "We're basing everything off of what the Chevrolets did down here and we're not running that well compared to those cars. We're very consistent in what we've been running, but just not quick enough. We'll keep trying different motor combinations and setups -- and see what that does."

The busy month of January testing continues Friday as NASCAR Busch Series teams invade the Speedway for their three-day test session, Jan. 12-14. Among the teams that have notified the Speedway in advance that they'll be present are those of drivers Chad Little (#23), Johnny Rumley (#25), Mike McLaughlin (#34), Dennis Setzer (#38), Tim Fedewa (#40), Rodney Combs (#43), Jason Keller (#57), Mike Dillon (#72), Joe Nemechek (#87), Pete Orr (#88), David Green (#95), Glenn Allen Jr. (#99), and Peter Gibbons (#09).

Dale Jarrett's team arrived Wednesday evening and ran 182.559 mph on Thursday. "It's the same car we ran last year," said Jarrett of the Busch car. NASCAR Slim Jim All-Pro Series driver Ron Barfield was clocked at 181.433 mph in a T-bird out of the Elliott- Hardy Racing shops in Dawsonville, Ga.

A section of the Oldfield Grandstand is open daily at no charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with access through the Visitors' Center. Guided tours of the Speedway are also available from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a nominal fee.

FORD TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 11*

NO DRIVER/CAR            TIME           SPEED
88   Dale Jarrett/Ford   48.228 secs    186.614 mph
94   Bill Elliott/Ford   48.673         184.907
90   Mike Wallace/Ford   48.973         183.775
15   Wally Dallenbach/Ford 49.178       183.009

* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.

CUMULATIVE NASCAR WINSTON CUP TEST SPEEDS -- THROUGH JAN. 5*

NO   DRIVER/CAR               DATE      TIME      SPEED
5    Terry Labonte/Chevrolet  1/5       47.949    187.699
4    Sterling Marlin/Chev.    1/4       48.005    187.480
44   Jeff Purvis/Chevrolet    1/3       48.109    187.075
24   Jeff Gordon/Chevrolet    1/4       48.109    187.075
3    Dale Earnhardt/Chevrolet 1/5       48.159    186.881
88   Dale Jarrett/Ford        1/10      48.195    186.741
87   Joe Nemechek/Chevrolet   1/4       48.300    186.335
71   Dave Marcis/Chevrolet    1/5       48.425    185.854
33   Robert Pressley/Chev.    1/4       48.540    185.414
17   Darrell Waltrip/Chev.    1/5       48.555    185.357
94   Bill Elliott/Ford        1/11      48.673    184.907
24j  Jack Sprague/Chevrolet   1/3       48.773    184.528
29   Steve Grissom/Chev.      1/3       48.944    183.884
90   Mike Wallace/Ford        1/11      48.973    183.775
15   Wally Dallenbach/Ford    1/9       49.090    183.337

* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.

NOTES

MIKE WALLACE (#90 Donlavey Racing Ford Thunderbird) -- (On getting only two days testing) they had 23 inches of snow in Richmond, Virginia. The Cup guys are based out of there while I'm out of the Charlotte area. We had 2-3 inches and that was bad enough in itself. We're testing here more than we do anywhere else because this is before the season starts. I think everybody puts a major emphasis on Daytona, but I don't think anybody takes any emphasis away from anything else. I think it's just a full-fledged effort week-in, week-out. We're trying to run as hard at Daytona as we are at Richmond or Loudon or wherever. We're trying to approach each race as an individual race. We just have more time to test when we come to Daytona right now. We'll be back for the second Ford test.

TODD PARROTT (Crew chief #88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- I'm having a good time (in his new role as crew chief). We've had a good test, but this team is always good on the superspeedways, going all the way back to when Davey (Allison) was driving the car. And Dale (Jarrett) gets around this place pretty good. (On the way the team is running compared to the other Ford teams.) Well, there's not many teams here to really get a fix off of -- we'll see what happens. It's really pretty hard to tell where we're at. The motor stuff's different...

LARRY McREYNOLDS (Crew chief #28 Texaco/Havoline Ford) -- (Team owner Robert Yates and his entire entourage of some 20 people took McReynolds to The Chart House on the Daytona yacht basin for a surprise 37th birthday dinner on Wednesday night.) Ernie (Irvan) and Dale will do the Ford test at Talladega next week (Jan. 16-19). We'll be back for the second Ford test here (Jan. 22-24) and Ernie will do what Dale did this time -- we'll have three or four cars and Ernie will drive them. We had three cars here for this test, but one of them we were only checking a couple things on and didn't really do very many laps. We were evaluating the '96 hood and nose on it but it didn't have the '96 roof deal we're going to be able to use. We're taking it back to convert it over. We may have looked a little better here this time, but I think it'll be a little different when we all come back in February (for the start of practice on Friday, Feb. 9).

BILL ELLIOTT (#94 McDonald's Ford) -- (On ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Supercar Series program that will run out of the Dawsonville, Ga., shops for NASCAR Slim Jim All-Pro Series driver Ron Barfield.) He's a pretty good kid who's done real well in the All-Pro Series -- he led the most laps there but didn't get in a really good car until part way through the season. His car owner is in Atlanta and is friends with Charles Hardy (a partner in Elliott-Hardy Racing). We're going to run him in the ARCA superspeedway races (beginning with the Feb. 11 Daytona ARCA 200) and try to get him a start. (Barfield tested a car numbered "94A." The "A" stood for "ARCA." Although the car carried McDonald's signwriting, Elliott said his NASCAR Winston Cup sponsor wouldn't be involved.) That's just the way it came out of the shop.)

DALE JARRETT (#88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- I found out the same thing I knew before we came here -- we're in serious trouble. Sure, we won the Busch Pole here a year ago, but they've (Chevrolet teams) had more time to work on their cars. There's really nothing more we can do until we get a new car. We're about maxed on all we can do within the rules. It's hard to figure out how good a car we'll have for the race, being here by yourself. Maybe next week at Talladega we'll be able to draft some because Ernie and I'll be there together. Right now it seems that we may be outclassed on rear downforce, which is more critical here than at Talladega.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Terry Labonte , Joe Nemechek , Sterling Marlin , Mike Wallace , Robert Pressley , Mike McLaughlin , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Chad Little , Jeff Purvis , David Green , Dave Marcis , Steve Grissom , Peter Gibbons , Ron Barfield , Robert Yates , Johnny R
Teams Yates Racing