Harvick fastest in Martinsville test

Tony Stewart holds the Winston Cup qualifying record at Martinsville Speedway and if the last two days of testing at the track is any indication, his record is safe. Stewart set the record of 19.855 seconds (95.371 mph) last fall.

Tony Stewart holds the Winston Cup qualifying record at Martinsville Speedway and if the last two days of testing at the track is any indication, his record is safe.

Stewart set the record of 19.855 seconds (95.371 mph) last fall. Fifteen teams tested at Martinsville Tuesday and no one was close to that sub 20-second mark.

Kevin Harvick had the best time Tuesday, posting a 20.20-second (93.742 mph) lap in the Goodwrench Chevrolet. Kenny Wallace was next best at 20.28 in the unsponsored Eel River Pontiac. It should be noted these times are unofficial and are supplied by the teams.

The speed culprit, according to anyone you asked in the garage Tuesday, was the new generation Goodyear tire. Its sidewalls are a little stiffer, drivers and crew chiefs say, which brings speeds down.

"I guarantee you won't see a track record here this time," Len Wood, co-owner of the Wood Brothers Motorcraft Ford driven by Elliott Sadler. There were some other times of interest. Jason Leffler, who didn't make the field at Bristol last week, had a solid lap of 20.43, in his first appearance at Martinsville Speedway.

HOUSTON ONLY SPINNER: Rookie Andy Houston had the only spin of the day when he got around leaving the second turn with the McDonalds Ford. His car suffered minor damage and will be back in action Wednesday when he returns for a second day of testing.

"We just did a little bit of damage," said Houston. "We're just having a hard time adjusting to the tire."

DODGE RETURN: For the first time since 1984, a Dodge Winston Cup car was on the track Tuesday. Two Winston Cup rookies, Leffler and Buckshot Jones, were the two Dodge boys in the garage area Tuesday.

MORE CARS THAN TEAMS: There were 15 teams on hand Tuesday, but 30 cars. Every team brought two cars and drivers spent time hopping back and forth between cars.

"We've been shaking both cars down trying to figure out which one is best," said Hermie Sadler, who will attempting to make his first start of the season in the April 8 Virginia 500. "We think we've got it figured out and we'll spend tomorrow getting it ready for the race."

Most all of the teams had one car fully painted and decaled while their second cars were still sporting primer.

IRONMAN AWARD: Steve Park and Elliott Sadler wound up two days of testing Tuesday afternoon and both should be pretty worn out considering the test came on the heels of Sunday's 500 lapper at Bristol. Park ran an impressive 531 laps over the two days of testing while Sadler wasn't far back with 482 laps.

BIG DAY: Tuesday's test session was the largest ever at Martinsville Speedway with 15 drivers.

Drivers testing at Martinsville Speedway Tuesday included Elliott Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Steve Park, Kenny Wallace, Buckshot Jones, Andy Houston, Kevin LePage, Mark Martin, Johnny Benson, Jeremy Mayfield, Kevin Harvick, Jerry Nadeau, Jeff Gordon, Jason Leffler and Kurt Busch. All but Elliott Sadler and Park will be back again Wednesday for the final day of testing before the Virginia 500

The Virginia 500/Advance Auto Parts 250 weekend kicks off with Bud Pole qualifying for the Craftsman Truck Series at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6 followed by time trials for the Winston Cup Series at 3 p.m. Tickets for qualifying are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 250 Craftsman Truck race are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved. There still are great seats available for the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race for $40-$70 each. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or go online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

-MS

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Steve Park , Jason Leffler , Kevin Harvick , Kenny Wallace , Jerry Nadeau , Buckshot Jones , Andy Houston , Kurt Busch , Johnny Benson , Hermie Sadler , Elliott Sadler , Mark Martin