Mayfield leads first test day at the Brickyard

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 8, 2003 - Jeremy Mayfield turned the fastest lap on the first day of 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series private testing July 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, recording a lap of 176.214 mph in the No. 19 Dodge ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 8, 2003 - Jeremy Mayfield turned the fastest lap on the first day of 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series private testing July 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, recording a lap of 176.214 mph in the No. 19 Dodge Dealers entry for Evernham Motorsports.

Not surprisingly, two of the top-three cars in the first day of practice are prepared by Evernham Motorsports, which fielded the No. 9 Dodge that carried Bill Elliott to his first Brickyard 400 win in 2002.

Jeff Green, driving the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., was second fastest in today's practice at 175.446, Casey Atwood was third in the No. 91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge at 174.690 and rookie Casey Mears was third at 174.514 in the No. 41 Target Dodge prepared by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

Mayfield said today's fast effort is part of a greater effort and focus taking place within the No. 19 team.

"We're so pumped up right now," Mayfield said. "We've been working on this thing for the last six weeks. Not this car, but our team has been getting better and better. We're really starting to communicate well. We've come here for the Indy test, we have a brand-new car, and it's super fast. It's the best car I've ever had here."

The car was set up in race trim during his fastest lap, according to Mayfield, and he said he is excited about his return to Indy for the 10th Brickyard 400.

"It's close to home," said Mayfield, a native of Owensboro, Ky. "I love Indy, just love coming here to run. I feel like it owes me one. I've run good here in the past, had a fast car in 2000 and got in a wreck in practice. I feel real good about it."

Mears, the nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears, is excited about returning to Indy. He attempted to qualify for the 2001 Indianapolis 500 with Galles Racing but did not qualify.

"When you come through the gates, that's the time for 'oohing' and 'aahing' and feeling what this place is," Mears said. "And it is: It's awesome. It's unreal and not like any other place. But at the same time, as soon as you put your helmet on and roll out on the track, your main goal is to give those guys the best information and give the car the best balance. You forget where you're at and do the best job you can."

Teams are testing at the world's greatest racecourse in preparation for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, Aug. 3. Eleven drivers turned laps July 8, and testing for the same group of drivers continues July 9. Another round of teams are scheduled to test at IMS July 14-16.

Fans may watch all days of testing free of charge from the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2.

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.

-ims-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Jeremy Mayfield , Jeff Green , Casey Atwood , Casey Mears , Rick Mears , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates