NEXTEL Cup Teams Flock To Martinsville Speedway For Test MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 6, 2004) -- The Advance Auto Parts 500 is still almost two weeks away, but Tuesday looked like a race day at Martinsville Speedway. About a dozen ...
NEXTEL Cup Teams Flock To Martinsville Speedway For Test
MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 6, 2004) -- The Advance Auto Parts 500 is still almost two weeks away, but Tuesday looked like a race day at Martinsville Speedway.
About a dozen NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams spent eight hours testing at the difficult half-mile track Tuesday. Almost that many teams will return Wednesday for a second day of testing.
Defending series champion Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin, Brian Vickers, Jimmy Johnson, Ricky Craven, Scott Riggs, Jamie McMurray, Scott Wimmer and Johnny Sauter all tested at the track Tuesday.
They gathered in search of speed for the April 18th Advance Auto Parts 500, but they were also trying to get a read on the new, softer Goodyear tire, which will be making its first Martinsville appearance.
"We were just trying to learn what these tires felt like at Martinsville," said rookie driver Scott Riggs, who along with Johnson, McMurray and Marlin, was quick all day long.
"We're trying to learn to make the adjustments we need to make for the cars to respond. We feel good about it (the tires). We've learned leaps and bounds about them the past couple of weeks."
Riggs has struggled early in his rookie season and he was thankful to be back on a track where he recorded a win in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
"We just feel good about being back here," said Riggs. "I can smile today and really mean it."
McMurray said his Havoline Dodge wasn't great early in the day, but really improved as testing wore on.
"Our race trim was pretty good. It seemed like we gained as the day went on," said McMurray. "We were a lot quicker on the long runs and by this afternoon we felt like we had one of the best cars here. We were just sort of cruising around and seeing what our car needed."
Craven, who like several drivers showed up with two cars, had narrowed his choice by the end of the day.
"We ran two cars most of the day and narrowed it down to one," said the former Martinsville winner. "We like where we are with it. We think we can get the Tide Monte Carlo back to victory lane here."
The cars will return to the track at 9 a.m. Wednesday and test until 5 p.m. The frontstretch grandstands are open to fans at no charge.
Great seats are still available for the Advance Auto Parts 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race for $40 to $72 each. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or order online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
The Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing action begins at 1 p.m. on April 17 when the green flag waves on the Kroger 250. Tickets for the Kroger 250 are $35 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved.
Martinsville Speedway's ticket office is open seven days a week, from 9 to 7 Monday through Friday; from 9 to 3 on Saturday; and from 1 to 4 on Sunday.