Rudd fastest on first day of final Indianapolis test

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - Ricky Rudd set the day's standard with a lap at 175.809 mph July 24, but others lurked nearby on the first day of the final NASCAR Winston Cup Series two-day test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - Ricky Rudd set the day's standard with a lap at 175.809 mph July 24, but others lurked nearby on the first day of the final NASCAR Winston Cup Series two-day test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the eighth annual Brickyard 400 on Aug. 5.

Rudd's lap in a Ford was just .075 of a second faster than the Dodge of Bill Elliott, who checked in at 175.552 mph. 2001 Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip was third at 175.128 with a run late in the day.

In the morning session, Johnny Benson was the fastest at 174.706, followed by both of Elliott's Dodges and Rudd. Speeds went up in the afternoon even though temperatures soared to 87 degrees.

"This afternoon we worked on qualifying setup," Rudd said. "The track's a little greasier than it has been in years past. Of the chassis stuff that used to work here, some's not allowed, and some doesn't work any more. You can retain about 60 percent of the stuff, and 40 percent is all new."

Rudd was on the pole a year ago at 181.068 mph.

"You're not going to see anything like that," he said. "These tires give up a little speed in qualifying, but I think you'll see the field closer together, and I think you'll see a little better race.

"If you look at trends, we're not changing as many tires, and you tend to stay on scuffs. I think that's a trend you'll continue to see at Indy."

Defending Brickyard 400 champion Bobby Labonte ended up 25th at 169.434.

Tuesday marked the first laps at the Speedway for Shawna Robinson, who will bid to become the Brickyard 400's first female starter and only the fourth woman driver to race at the Speedway behind Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher, all Indianapolis 500 starters. Robinson turned her best lap in the morning at 166.322.

A total of 49 cars were on the track in the morning session and 48 in the afternoon, with 31 drivers on the 2.5-mile oval. The test concludes Wednesday.

Jimmy Spencer had the fastest lap of last week's test for half the expected entry list at 177.560, followed by Jeff Gordon at 176.481. <pre> NASCAR WINSTON CUP TOP TESTING SPEEDS BY DRIVER, INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, JULY 24 (Fastest speed overall for each driver) Pos. No. Name Speed 1. 28T Ricky Rudd 175.809 2. 9B Bill Elliott 175.552 3. 15 Michael Waltrip 175.128 4. 10A Johnny Benson 174.706 5. 12A Jeremy Mayfield 173.957 6. 88 Dale Jarrett 173.819 7. 93A Dave Blaney 173.558 8. 77A Robert Pressley 173.397 9. 4A Kevin Lepage 172.987 10. 96A Andy Houston 172.854 11. 57 David Keith 172.682 12. 44A Buckshot Jones 172.483 13. 19B Casey Atwood 172.364 14. 21A Elliott Sadler 172.209 15. 02 Ryan Newman 171.848 16. 7A Mike Wallace 171.766 17. 36 Ken Schrader 171.700 18. 90 Hut Stricklin 171.690 19. 95 Ed Berrier 171.553 20. 45 Kyle Petty 171.178 21. 29 Kevin Harvick 170.830 22. 92K Stacy Compton 170.823 23. 20 Tony Stewart 170.817 24. 55B Bobby Hamilton 170.500 25. 07 Ted Musgrave 170.177 26. 17 Matt Kenseth 170.036 27. 31 Robby Gordon 169.978 28. 18A Bobby Labonte 169.434 29. 37B Derrike Cope 168.795 30. 84 Shawna Robinson 166.322 31. 84 Morgan Shepherd 165.621

-IMS-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Derrike Cope , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kyle Petty , Ken Schrader , Jimmy Spencer , Kevin Harvick , Shawna Robinson , Kevin Lepage , Robby Gordon , Buckshot Jones , Mike Wallace , Andy Houston , Ryan Newman , Hut Stricklin , Robert Pressley , Casey Atwood , Stacy Compton , Sarah Fisher , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Lyn St. James , Ed Berrier , Janet Guthrie , Morgan Shepherd , Elliott Sadler , Dave Blaney