TALLADEGA, Ala. (Feb. 4, 2000) Rick Mast knows the ups and downs of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing. He knows what it's like to run well in the Daytona 500, and he's well aware of what it's like to see it take the green flag without him. Mast...
TALLADEGA, Ala. (Feb. 4, 2000) Rick Mast knows the ups and downs of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing. He knows what it's like to run well in the Daytona 500, and he's well aware of what it's like to see it take the green flag without him. Mast was one of 10 drivers testing at Talladega Superspeedway Friday in hopes of gaining an extra edge that might help get the 2000 season started with a bang.
Jimmy Spencer, Rusty Wallace, Terry Labonte, Ricky Craven and Greg Sacks were also testing NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars at Talladega Friday, while Kevin Schwantz, Jimmie Johnson and Labonte were preparing Busch Series cars for the upcoming season. Andy Houston also was at the 2.66-mile track getting his Chevy ready for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' debut at Daytona International Speedway.
"Man, you just don't know what it's like having to watch one of these things when you're supposed to be in it," Mast said. "But when it's the Daytona 500, that's another thing."
Mast has seen both sides of the season's opening race. In 1989, he finished sixth in the Daytona 500 in an un-sponsored car owned by Travis Carter. He finished fourth in the "Great American Race" in 1991. But in 1997 he failed to make the season-opener and spent the season trying to dig out of a hole.
After spending 1999 with Cale Yarborough Motorsports, Mast will pilot Chevrolets owned by Larry Hedrick in 2000.
"I know everybody says it, but getting the season started right is so important," Mast said. "It's even more important when you're with a new team to get off to a good start."
As well as getting off to a good start, strong Daytona results usually parlay into a strong showing at Talladega. Typically, teams that shine at Daytona do well at Talladega.
In 1999, Dale Earnhardt, who swept both races at Talladega last season, finished second at Daytona in the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400. Dale Jarrett, who won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, scored a pair of runner-up finishes at Talladega.
Earnhardt will get his first opportunity to defend his Talladega title in the DieHard 500 April 16. Talladega's first weekend of racing is set for April 13-16.
April 13 brings practice and Bud Pole Qualifying for the Touchstone Energy 300, followed by Advance Auto Parts Qualifying Day for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Friday, April 14.
Saturday, April 15 is packed with the Touchstone Energy 300 NASCAR Busch Series event, as well as IROC XXIV action. The DieHard 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series event set for Sunday, April 16.
Allison Grandstand tickets remain for the weekend and are only $60 for a two-day ticket. To purchase tickets call (256) 362-RACE or visit http://www.talladegasuperspeedway.com. -nascar.com-