Spencer posts fastest speed at two-day Indy test

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - Jimmy Spencer reeled off a lap at 177.560 mph in the morning, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the afternoon group with a lap at 175.425 on a hot, muggy day Tuesday to draw the most attention at the end...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - Jimmy Spencer reeled off a lap at 177.560 mph in the morning, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the afternoon group with a lap at 175.425 on a hot, muggy day Tuesday to draw the most attention at the end of a two-day NASCAR Winston Cup Series test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 5.

Spencer's lap was the fastest of the two-day test. Two-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon was second fastest Tuesday at 176.481, also in the morning. Spencer, in a second car, was third fastest in the morning at 175.730.

Earnhardt's lap came late in the day after Jeff Green had been fastest in the hot conditions at 175.281 for most of the session.

"This is a big event, and it's special to come up here to Indianapolis," Spencer said. "We've run well in the past, and we brought up some different cars this time.

"We're trying to get qualifying down, and today we're trying to get practice runs down and see what's the best we can do with computers on the cars. You're not allowed computers when you come back. You just try to do a ton of things and evaluate it, and when you come back, you're hopefully in good shape."

Earnhardt's team used the testing strategy of putting qualifying setups on teammate Steve Park's car and race setups on Earnhardt's car Monday and reversing it Tuesday. Park was second fastest of the day Monday.

All speeds were far short of the Winston Cup track record of 181.072 set by Brett Bodine a year ago. "I doubt it," Park said when asked if a track record was in the making. "With the rule changes and the lack of spring rubbers and stuff, you can't get these cars low enough on the straightaways to see those speeds. It wouldn't surprise me if we saw something close to it, but it would surprise me to see a new track record."

Davey Hamilton, the Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League veteran who suffered serious leg injuries in an accident at Texas last month, was a surprise visitor in Gasoline Alley, brought to the track by racing journalist Bones Bourcier. Brett Bodine was among the first of the NASCAR drivers to greet Hamilton, who requires further surgery and rehabilitation.

Testing for the other half of Winston Cup competitors is scheduled for July 24-25 at the 2.5-mile oval. <pre> NASCAR WINSTON CUP TOP TESTING SPEEDS BY DRIVER, INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, JULY 17 (Fastest speed overall for each driver)

Pos.    No.     Name                    Speed
1.      26K     Jimmy Spencer           177.560
2.      24      Jeff Gordon             176.481
3.      8       Dale Earnhardt Jr.      175.425
4.      30      Jeff Green              175.281
5.      01X     Jason Leffler           174.835
        33      Joe Nemechek            174.835
7.      43A     John Andretti           174.778
8.      6B      Mark Martin             174.700
9.      66      Todd Bodine             174.463
10.     32A     Ricky Craven            174.408
11.     22      Ward Burton             174.314
12.     25      Jerry Nadeau            174.095
13.     2       Rusty Wallace           173.940
14.     50B     Rick Mast               173.314
15.     11A     Brett Bodine            173.267
16.     5T      Terry Labonte           173.220
17.     14B     Ron Hornaday            172.977
18.     13B     Hermie Sadler           171.749
19.     27A     Mike Bliss              171.602
20.     49      Andy Hillenburg         171.595
21.     40      Sterling Marlin         170.694
22.     1A      Steve Park              170.145
23.     97A     Kurt Busch              170.142
24.     99A     Jeff Burton             169.591
25.     81      Mark Green              167.193

-IMS-

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