Skinner leads rain-shortened Brickyard 400 test session at Indy. INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 9, 2002 - Rain snipped both ends of the opening Brickyard 400 testing session July 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Mike Skinner snipped Todd...
Skinner leads rain-shortened Brickyard 400 test session at Indy.
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 9, 2002 - Rain snipped both ends of the opening Brickyard 400 testing session July 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Mike Skinner snipped Todd Bodine's effort to lead the speed chart with two cars.
Skinner, driver of the Kodak Film Chevrolet, made a speedy late run just before severe thunderstorms forced the closing the track for the day shortly after 5 p.m. (EST). Skinner clocked a time of 50.4773 seconds and speed of 178.298 mph to top 14 other NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers participating in the two-day test session.
A steady morning rain delayed start of testing until 2 p.m. Then a boiling sun hiked the track temperature to 134 degrees before black clouds and heavy rain moved in from the west.
During the sunny period, Bodine, brother of track record holder Brett Bodine, turned a best lap of 177.920 mph in his No. 26A Discover Card Ford and recorded a second-fastest circuit of the famed 21/2-mile oval at 176.379 in his primary No. 26 machine.
"A lot of other guys haven't taped up (the front end of the car) yet," Skinner said. "We didn't completely tape up. We did kind of little semi runs there. It felt good. In class, for the Chevys, I think we're pretty good."
Skinner, who finished ninth in the 2000 Brickyard 400 but missed last year's race, thinks the record of 181.072 mph set by Brett Bodine in 2000 could fall.
"Looking at this test, it surely looks like it," Skinner said. "We don't have good engines in these cars, either one of them. We'll have a lot more engine when we come back. I'm sure when some of the guys who are great qualifiers here come, you're going to see some fast times. I wouldn't be surprised to see it get in the 49's (seconds)."
Todd Bodine, along with brothers Brett and Geoffrey Bodine, qualified for the first Brickyard in 1994. Todd also made the 43-car starting field in 1995 and 2000.
"It's just a real momentum track," said the youngest Bodine.
"I've always enjoyed it. From the very first race we ran here, I ran ninth in that race. Actually, had a better car than that, but ended up ninth. But we've always run well here. We've taken to it like a duck to water."
The third-fastest driver of the day was veteran Mark Martin, who stands second in the point standings to fellow veteran Sterling Marlin. Martin clipped off a 176.101-mph lap late in the session in his Pfizer/Viagra Ford.
Martin's car owner Jack Roush, who was nearly killed in a experimental aircraft crash on his 60th birthday last April, was on hand to watch the test. Martin's teammate Kurt Busch was fourth fastest at 175.453, while veteran Ken Schrader clocked in at fifth with a speed of 175.201.
Two-time Brickyard champion Dale Jarrett was next at 175.157, followed by Dave Blaney (175.121) and Marlin (175.009). Dale Earnhardt Jr., who turned the most laps (46) in his Budweiser Chevrolet, was 15th fastest on the speed chart at 173.935.
The ninth annual Brickyard 400 is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 4.
<pre> NASCAR Winston Cup Series Testing Results, July 9, 2002 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Pos. Car No. Driver Best Speed Laps 1. 4A Mike Skinner 178.298 mph 26 2. 26A Todd Bodine 177.920 20 3. 26 Todd Bodine 176.379 19 4. 6 Mark Martin 176.101 43 5. 97A Kurt Busch 175.453 28 6. 36A Kenny Schrader 175.201 18 7. 88 Dale Jarrett 175.157 32 8. 77A Dave Blaney 175.121 28 9. 40T Sterling Marlin 175.009 28 10. 97 Kurt Busch 174.798 18 11. 31A Robby Gordon 174.739 8 12. 77B Dave Blaney 174.584 14 13. 4 Mike Skinner 174.458 7 14. 6A Mark Martin 174.269 26 15. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 173.935 46 16. 1 Steve Park 173.825 25 17. 32B Ricky Craven 173.700 11 18. 5A Terry Labonte 173.670 22 19. 32A Ricky Craven 173.567 11 20. 36 Kenny Schrader 173.205 9 21. 23 Hut Stricklin 173.145 25 22. 40 Sterling Marlin 172.663 24 23. 23A Hut Stricklin 172.336 12 24. 1A Steve Park 172.241 29 25. 5 Terry Labonte 171.981 4 26. 31 Robby Gordon 171.152 14 27. 55 Bobby Hamilton 170.510 33 28. 8A Dale Earnhardt Jr. 170.456 4 29. 55A Bobby Hamilton 168.391 11