Marlin fastest in Brickyard 400 testing July 20 Green fastest overall among 39 drivers in three weeks of testing INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - Sterling Marlin placed himself among the favorites for the 2004 Brickyard 400 pole by ...
Marlin fastest in Brickyard 400 testing July 20
Green fastest overall among 39 drivers in three weeks of testing
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - Sterling Marlin placed himself among the favorites for the 2004 Brickyard 400 pole by turning the fastest unofficial lap in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing July 20 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The day's testing was the last before teams return to Indianapolis for the 11th Brickyard 400 on Aug. 6-8.
Marlin's fastest lap of 49.9153 seconds, 180.305 mph in the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge was more than 1.3 mph off the overall top time and speed in private testing set by Jeff Green on July 7. Green put together a lap of 49.5483, 181.641 in the No. 43 Cheerios Dodge.
"We've just kept working on the car a little, and it's got better," Marlin said. "We made that run at 11 o'clock, and it was pretty hot and wasn't taped all the way up. We're pretty happy with it, so we'll have to come back (race weekend) and see how we run."
Kenny Wallace, driving the No. 00 Aaron's Chevrolet and the fastest driver in testing July 19, was second fastest today at 179.895. Ward Burton was third in the No. 0 NetZero HiSpeed Chevrolet at 179.878, 2002 Brickyard 400 winner Bill Elliott was fourth in the No. 91 Visteon Dodge at 179.085, and Ricky Craven was fifth in the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet at 178.840.
Two-time Brickyard 400 winner Dale Jarrett turned the most laps of any driver in Brickyard 400 testing, with 343 laps - 857.5 miles on the historic 2.5-mile oval- over the last two days. Jarrett is optimistic about the team's chances for continued success at IMS.
"We have improved our program, (and) right now the good races we have had have been with one particular car," Jarrett said. "We're here with that car and another built to be just like it, and I think that maybe now we have another car for our stable. Hopefully that is the direction we're headed.
"It's disappointing if you come here and don't give yourself a chance to win because it is such a special place. But it's special any time you get to come here and race. And now as long as we've been coming here, it still means just as much to me if I could get back to that Victory Lane for a third time."
A total of 39 drivers recorded 6,284 laps of testing at the 2.5-mile IMS oval in private tests on July 6-7, 12-13 and 19-20.
Elliott, who is running a limited NEXTEL Cup schedule in 2004 for Evernham Motorsports, recorded a total of 205 laps at IMS as he prepares to return to Indy for only his fourth start of the year. Elliott has eight top-10 finishes at the Brickyard 400 and said his return to the driver's seat has been smooth.
Elliott ready for strong Brickyard 400 run despite limited schedule:
"I don't feel any different than I did if I had run every race to this point," Elliott said. "With Ray's (Evernham) stuff and Visteon coming on and sponsoring us for this race, I feel we have as good a shot as anybody. We've got Kasey (Kahne) and Jeremy (Mayfield) running that are running every week (so) we don't lose data from week to week, so we can keep up with the changes from week to week."
The only incidents of the six days of testing took place today, and just minutes apart. Tony Stewart brushed the outside retaining wall in Turn 2 just before 10 a.m. in the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet, causing minor rear- end damage. A few minutes after the track reopened following Stewart's incident, Larry Foyt spun and hit the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1, causing heavy left-front and rear-end damage. Foyt was driving the No. 52 Ware Racing Dodge.
The 11th running of the Brickyard 400 is scheduled for Aug. 6-8. The event gets underway with practice from 2-4 p.m. (EST, local time) on Friday, Aug. 6. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying begins at 10:10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, followed by two practice sessions from 2:10-2:55 p.m. and 3:45-4:30 p.m. The 160-lap Brickyard 400 will start at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8.
Tickets: Reserved-seat Race Day tickets for the 2004 Brickyard 400 are available. Tickets, parking and camping can be purchased on the World Wide Web via www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.