Lepage fastest in four-car test at Indy Newman, J. Burton, Fultz also turn laps in preparation for 10th Brickyard 400 on Aug. 3 INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 22, 2003 -- Kevin Lepage's hopes of bringing a competitive car to the 10th Brickyard 400...
Lepage fastest in four-car test at Indy
Newman, J. Burton, Fultz also turn laps in preparation for 10th Brickyard 400 on Aug. 3
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 22, 2003 -- Kevin Lepage's hopes of bringing a competitive car to the 10th Brickyard 400 came closer to reality July 22 after posting the fastest lap of the day in testing, 178.638 mph in the No. 71 Matrix Motorsports Ford.
Jeff Burton was second fastest at 177.386 in the No. 99 Citgo Ford for Roush Racing, and Jeff Fultz was third at 176.318 in the No. 55 Jasper Motorsports Ford.
Ryan Newman also tested in the No. 12 Alltel Dodge for Penske Racing. The team did not authorize the release of speeds during the private test.
Lepage does not expect an upset victory reminiscent of that in the movie "Hoosiers" when the NASCAR Winston Cup Series races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 3. But after qualifying on a shoestring budget for the Coca-Cola 600 in May, he hopes the team can pull the same magic at Indy.
"I went to Charlotte with a shoestring crew and came here with a shoestring crew," he said. "We're trying to see if I can come back and make the race. We need to find a little more speed, and if I can do that, it will make our decision a little easier next week."
The last time Lepage competed at the Brickyard 400 was 2000, but he said the track is exactly what he remembers, if not better.
"It's a lot smoother," he said. "It still has four ends to the racetrack. This is probably the best test I've had here with data. My team's very knowledgeable as far as what this race car wants with this track. If everything turns out, maybe we'll be back next week.
Newman is looking forward to the return to his native Indiana. After growing up in South Bend and attending Purdue University in West Lafayette, Newman said just the drive to Indianapolis on Monday for testing had special meaning.
"It's cool to be back in Indiana," he said. "A lot of neat things. For instance, yesterday, just driving down country roads and seeing all the cornfields. It's something you don't even see in North Carolina, and you kind of miss it."
But fond memories of his home state notwithstanding, Newman's focus is on the Brickyard 400.
"Definitely (the race has) special meaning," he said. "To me, it's the biggest race of the year, and it's important to test for that.
"It's a true race. It's not a restrictor-plate race, it's not working with out-of-bounds lines; it's a racetrack. It's cool, the history of this racetrack. Hopefully we can have good run here."
Testing continues from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (EST) Wednesday. The public can view testing free of charge from the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2.
Tickets: Reserved-seat Race Day tickets for the Brickyard 400 remain available. Tickets and parking can be purchased on the World Wide Web via www.imstix.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.
<pre> NASCAR WINSTON CUP TESTING REPORT, INDIANAPOLIS Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Car No. Driver Speed (mph) Total Laps 71 Kevin Lepage 178.638 53 99 Jeff Burton 177.386 67 55 Jeff Fultz 176.318 76 12 Ryan Newman NA* 96 Total Laps: 292
*Team did not authorize speeds to be released.