Las Vegas Preseason Thunder preview

NASCAR PRESEASON THUNDER AT LAS VEGAS CONTINUES 2006 PREPARATIONS * Forty-one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers scheduled to participate in three-day test DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2006) -- Stock car fuel-mileage runs coexisting with ...


* Forty-one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers scheduled to participate in three-day test

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2006) -- Stock car fuel-mileage runs coexisting with airborne training exercises.

That will be the setting next week as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams continue their off-season testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Nellis Air Force Base is adjacent to the track and jets streak skyward daily, providing vivid counterpoint to the roar of racing engines. While pilots train, drivers will embark on long runs to calculate fuel mileage -- just one of many tasks they'll perform for NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Las Vegas.

Next week's session marks the second of two annual preseason tests. The first took place at Daytona International Speedway, within several miles of the Atlantic Ocean, earlier this month. Next week's test claims the backdrop of the Southern Nevada mountains and the U.S. Air Force.

"The Vegas test is important," said NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton. "This is the first intermediate test of the season. It's very significant. This should set the stage for the first few months of the season. The data that they'll gather in the first two tests will carry them for the first nine races."

NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Las Vegas begins Monday, Jan. 30 and runs through Wednesday, Feb. 1. Teams may test on two of the three days. All sessions begin at 9 a.m., and end at 5 p.m. (PT), weather permitting, with a lunch break from noon until 1 p.m. Media covering the test will have interview opportunities during the lunch break.

Drivers scheduled to test from Jan. 30-31 include Mark Martin (No. 6 AAA Ford), the fourth-place finisher in the 2005 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, who is preparing for his final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season.

Other drivers testing on those dates include Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet), Robby Gordon (No. 7 Jim Beam Chevrolet), Jeff Green (No. 66 Best Buy Chevrolet), Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet), Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford), Travis Kvapil (No. 32 Tide/Downey Chevrolet), Jamie McMurray (No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools/ Sharpie Ford), Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford), Hermie Sadler (No. 00 Aaron's Rents Ford), Ken Schrader (No. 21 Little Debbie Ford), Michael Waltrip (No. 55 NAPA Chevrolet) and Scott Wimmer (No. 4 Aero Exhaust Chevrolet).

Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates Clint Bowyer (No. 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet), Brent Sherman (No. 49 BAM Racing Dodge), Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Target Dodge), David Stremme (No. 40 Coors Light/Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge) and Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) also will test from Jan. 30-31.

Seven drivers who competed in the 2005 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup will test from Jan. 31-Feb. 1. They include runner-up Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford), 10th-place finisher Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford), third-place finisher Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford), fifth-place finisher Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet), seventh-place finisher Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford), ninth-place finisher Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) and sixth-place finisher Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge).

Joining them will be Dave Blaney (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge), Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet), Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), Bobby Labonte (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge), Terry Labonte (No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet), Sterling Marlin (No. 14 Waste Management Chevrolet), Casey Mears (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge), Joe Nemechek (No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet), Kyle Petty (No. 45 Wells Fargo Dodge), Scott Riggs (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge) and Brian Vickers (No. 25 GMAC Chevrolet).

Three drivers -- all Joe Gibbs Racing teammates -- will test on Jan. 30 and Feb. 1. They are current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) and Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Fed Ex Chevrolet) and J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet).

Fast Facts

What: NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing for 2006.

Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Track Layout: 1.5-mile tri-oval.

When: Monday, Jan. 30 through Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Times: 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (PT) Lunch from noon until 1 p.m.

Who: Greg Biffle, Dave Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Robby Gordon, Jeff Green, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Travis Kvapil, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Kyle Petty, Scott Riggs, Elliott Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Ken Schrader, Brent Sherman, Reed Sorenson, Tony Stewart, David Stremme, Martin Truex Jr., Brian Vickers, Michael Waltrip, Scott Wimmer and J.J. Yeley.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kyle Petty , Ken Schrader , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , Jeff Green , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Scott Riggs , Hermie Sadler , Kasey Kahne , Brent Sherman , Scott Wimmer , J.J. Yeley , Martin Truex Jr. , Brian Vickers , Carl Edwards , David Stremme , Clint Bowyer , Elliott Sadler , Denny Hamlin , Reed Sorenson , Dave Blaney , Jim Beam , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin , Travis Kvapil
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing