Dale Earnhardt, Jr. driving the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated No. 8 Chevy posted the fastest time during final practice for NEXTEL Cup teams at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Earnhardt's lap of 184.351 mph bested the field by almost five ...
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. driving the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated No. 8 Chevy posted the fastest time during final practice for NEXTEL Cup teams at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Earnhardt's lap of 184.351 mph bested the field by almost five miles-per-hour.
"So it means a lot to me and to a lot of the drivers. A lot of veterans really understand the importance of that race. It's a big deal. It's hard to win. It's hard to get a good competitive car to be strong for such a long period of time all night long. We've run good in the race but haven't been able to put it together in the end, so hopefully we've got what it takes this year."
Teammate John Andretti, running a limited schedule of 8-12 races in the No. 1 DEI Chevy, clocked the second fastest lap, with a 179.366 mph. Kevin Harvick was the quickest of the Richard Childress Racing stable of drivers, posting a lap of 179.235 mph for third place.
"The biggest thing about this race is that it starts during the day and winds up running into the night," said Harvick. "The car goes through drastic changes through the race, and that's the key to winning it. It's starting off with your car tight enough so that you can run until the sun goes behind the grandstands, and the track becomes completely shaded and starts to tighten back up and gain a lot of speed.
"There is a fine line in balancing your racecar and making it so that you can go through and keep up with each segment during the race."
Ryan Newman and Brian Vickers complete the top five fastest machines.
Notably, Brendan Gaughan smacked his primary car during the third lap of final practice, and will have to start the Coca-Cola 600 in his back-up.