Daytona testing notes 96-01-16

SCHRADER SNEAKS-IN HOT LAP; PURVIS CONTINUES IN "FAST FORWARD" IN DAYTONA GM STOCK CAR TESTING DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 15) -- Ken Schrader, who Monday stepped into a race car for the first time since the NASCAR Winston Cup Series finale at ...

SCHRADER SNEAKS-IN HOT LAP; PURVIS CONTINUES IN "FAST FORWARD" IN DAYTONA GM STOCK CAR TESTING

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 15) -- Ken Schrader, who Monday stepped into a race car for the first time since the NASCAR Winston Cup Series finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway in November, ran the fastest test lap of the winter at Daytona International Speedway -- at better than 188 mph -- during the so-called "Happy Hour" period at the end of the day.

Schrader was clocked at 47.848 seconds, an average speed of 188.096 mph, after the deadline for reporting speeds had passed. Due to the large number of teams lined up on pit road, the Chevrolets and Pontiacs were allowed to run until about 5:20 p.m. By the time they were through, four drivers had topped 187 mph and Purvis was third-quickest.

Still, Purvis opened General Motors' final NASCAR Winston Cup pre-season test session at Daytona the same way he did two weeks ago -- at the top of the speed chart.

Purvis, who has tested NASCAR Busch Series stock cars in addition to the two sessions he's attended with James Finch's Winston Cup cars, was clocked at 187.040 mph in his Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Twenty Chevrolet and Pontiac teams were reportedly on hand to prepare for Speedweeks 96 and the Feb. 18 Daytona 500.

Bobby Labonte, who is entering his fourth NASCAR Winston Cup season, is coming off a sensational first year with Joe Gibbs Racing. The younger Labonte won his first Winston Cup race last May at Charlotte and followed it by sweeping both races at Michigan. He also won two Busch poles.

"Being in the Busch Clash is a great way to start off Speedweeks," said Labonte. "I won't say it gives you an edge, but you do have a race under your belt afterward and that's a good way to go into the (Gatorade) 125's. The Clash gives you a lot to look forward to. This is the first time Joe Gibbs Racing has been in the Clash. They're excited about it and so am I."

Labonte is eagerly awaiting Speedweeks and a solid performance in the Daytona 500. "We've got a strong team. Gibbs Racing runs real good here. We'll need a little luck to finish good, you always do. I think we're going to run good. We should be around at the end, hopefully in position to make a run for a good finish. If you can do that, then you can be in position to win one."

GENERAL MOTORS TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 15*

NO DRIVER/CAR SPEED

25 Ken Schrader/Chevrolet          188.096 mph
 4 Sterling Marlin/Chevrolet       187.473
44 Jeff Purvis/Chevrolet           187.040
24 Jeff Gordon/Chevrolet           187.036
 3 Mike Skinner/Chevrolet          186.683
17 Darrell Waltrip/Chevrolet       186.416
 5 Terry Labonte/Chevrolet         186.243
71 Dave Marcis/Chevrolet           186.158
30 Johnny Benson/Pontiac           185.322
33 Robert Pressley/Chevrolet       185.303
87 Joe Nemechek/Chevrolet          185.025
43 Bobby Hamilton/Pontiac          184.942
29 Steve Grissom/Chevrolet         184.404
 1 Rick Mast/Pontiac               184.128
29 Steve Grissom/Chevrolet         183.677
18 Bobby Labonte/Chevrolet         183.628
41 Ricky Craven/Chevrolet          183.479
73 Phil Barkdoll/Chevrolet         183.430
97 Chad Little/Pontiac             183.393
22 Ward Burton/Pontiac             183.374

* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.

LABONTE FASTEST TUESDAY IN GM STOCK CAR TESTING AT DAYTONA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Terry Labonte resumed his spot at the top of the General Motors NASCAR Winston Cup pre-season stock car testing speed chart Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway, even though teammate Ken Schrader had stolen his thunder late Monday afternoon at the top of the winter roster.

Breaking with the usual norm of posting a lap during the "Happy Hour" period preceeding the track's closing at 5 p.m., Labonte was timed at 47.954 seconds, an average speed of 187.680 mph, during the morning session in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

Schrader, the 1988, '89 and '90 Daytona 500 Busch Pole Award winner, is excited about the possibilities for next month's Speedweeks 96, saying, "I always look to do good every race. Daytona is a race we're awful concerned about. It's our Super Bowl. Last year we had a good run and finished ninth. Right now the new car is running so good that we could be thinking about Busch Pole Day (Saturday, Feb. 10). We could, but we probably won't because nobody really knows how good their car is until we're back here and the racing is for real."

"Believe it or not, this is the first time I've been back in a race car since the Winston Cup race at Atlanta in November. I don't know how that happened! We didn't run a couple of races in the fall that we usually do so I just spent a lot of time at home with the family. It was a pretty laid back winter."

The GM test concludes Wednesday. IROC's Pontiac Firebirds will test on Thursday. 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 available from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a nominal fee.

GENERAL MOTORS TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 16*

NO DRIVER/CAR SPEED

 5 Terry Labonte/Chevrolet         187.680 mph
44 Jeff Purvis/Chevrolet           186.994
25 Ken Schrader/Chevrolet          186.819
 3 Dale Earnhardt/Chevrolet        186.803
 4 Sterling Marlin/Chevrolet       186.575
24 Jeff Gordon/Chevrolet           186.548
 1 Rick Mast/Pontiac               186.513
17 Darrell Waltrip/Chevrolet       186.116
87 Joe Nemechek/Chevrolet          185.785
33 Robert Pressley/Chevrolet       185.575
73 Phil Barkdoll/Chevrolet         185.014
97 Chad Little/Pontiac             184.900
18 Bobby Labonte/Chevrolet         184.896
30 Johnny Benson/Pontiac           184.862
71 Dave Marcis/Chevrolet           184.828
43 Bobby Hamilton/Pontiac          184.336
29 Steve Grissom/Chevrolet         184.226
41 Ricky Craven/Chevrolet          183.775
22 Ward Burton/Pontiac             183.767

* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Ward Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Mike Skinner , Ken Schrader , Joe Nemechek , Sterling Marlin , Robert Pressley , Johnny Benson , Ricky Craven , Chad Little , Jeff Purvis , Dave Marcis , Rick Mast , Steve Grissom
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing