Monday July 16th test day at the Brickyard

T. Bodine, Park, Gordon Fast in First NASCAR Test at Indy INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, July 16, 2001 - Todd Bodine picked up where he left off over the weekend, and Steve Park and Jeff Gordon closed the gap near the end of Monday's sessions to take the...

T. Bodine, Park, Gordon Fast in First NASCAR Test at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, July 16, 2001 - Todd Bodine picked up where he left off over the weekend, and Steve Park and Jeff Gordon closed the gap near the end of Monday's sessions to take the top three spots on the speed chart for the first NASCAR Winston Cup test day in preparation for the Aug. 5 Brickyard 400.

Bodine had the fastest speed in the morning at 175.244 mph around the 2 ½-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, then chalked up a lap at 176.229 in the afternoon to lead the way.

Gordon reached 175.227 with about 1 ½ hours remaining, and Park claimed the second spot on the chart at 175.833 with about 20 minutes left.

The speeds were well short of the Speedway's Winston Cup track record of 181.072 mph set by Brett Bodine in second-day qualifying last year.

Ironically, Todd Bodine posted the fastest speed for the Travis Carter team that took a front-row starting spot last year with Darrell Waltrip aboard and the pole for Sunday's inaugural at Chicagoland Speedway with Bodine behind the wheel.

"It's been real good," Bodine said. "This team came up here last year with Darrell and sat on the outside pole so they had a real good setup from the start. The car just unloaded fast."

Park and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., were working under a team plan. "We've been working on it all day," Park said as the track closed, "but we didn't put (sticker) tires on. A lot of guys did their qualifying(-type) runs early. We felt all day long the car was driving good. It was getting toward the bewitching hour, so we put tires on it, taped it up and made a qualifying run.

"I think we have a little more to go, but we're real happy with that lap. We'll work on race stuff (Tuesday). Dale Jr.'s been in race trim today, and we'll look at all that information tonight. He'll be in qualifying trim (Tuesday) and we'll be in race trim."

Gordon, tied with Dale Jarrett for the lead in the Winston Cup point standings, made his hot lap as a thin cloud cover came over the Speedway.

"This place is real temperature-sensitive," Gordon said. "It makes a difference. It's the same for everybody." Many of the teams had two cars to test. Bodine's fastest lap in the second machine was 174.165, fifth fastest overall.

"We're actually just trying to see if one car handles better than the other and see which one's faster," Bodine said. "You always want to take your best horse to the race, and we're just trying to see which one's the best horse."

In all, 26 drivers and 39 cars were on the track. Testing for this half of Winston Cup teams ends Tuesday. The other half, assigned based on car owner points as of June 15, is scheduled to test July 24-25. <pre> NASCAR WINSTON CUP TOP TESTING SPEEDS BY DRIVER, INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, JULY 16 (Fastest speed overall for each driver) Pos. No. Name Speed 1. 66A Todd Bodine 176.229 2. 1A Steve Park 175.833 3. 24 Jeff Gordon 175.227 4. 99A Jeff Burton 174.740 5. 40 Sterling Marlin 174.122 6. 25 Jerry Nadeau 174.115 7. 22 Ward Burton 173.816 8. 26K Jimmy Spencer 172.891 9. 33 Joe Nemechek 172.612 10. 5A Terry Labonte 172.553 11. 49 Andy Hillenburg 172.480 12. 32A Ricky Craven 172.348 13. 43A John Andretti 171.795 14. 50B Rick Mast 171.602 15. 30 Jeff Green 171.595 16. 27A Mike Bliss 171.507 17. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 171.096 18. 6B Mark Martin 170.526 19. 13B Hermie Sadler 169.565 20. 11A Brett Bodine 169.370 21. 97 Kurt Busch 169.342 22. 2 Rusty Wallace 168.681 23. 01X Jason Leffler 168.064 24. 14B Ron Hornaday 167.302 25. 81 Mark Green 164.171

-IMS-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , John Andretti , Brett Bodine , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Todd Bodine , Steve Park , Jason Leffler , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Jeff Green , Sterling Marlin , Jerry Nadeau , Kurt Busch , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ricky Craven , Andy Hillenburg , Mark Green , Rick Mast , Hermie Sadler , Mike Bliss , Mark Martin