BUSCH: Darlington testing notes 96-03-14

"UGLY DUCKLING" PROVES "PRETTY" SWEET FOR HAMILTON AT DARLINGTON DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 14) -- Bobby Hamilton left Darlington Raceway Thursday saying the "Ugly Duckling" wasn't so ugly after all -- and Ward Burton joined brother Jeff in ...

"UGLY DUCKLING" PROVES "PRETTY" SWEET FOR HAMILTON AT DARLINGTON DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 14) -- Bobby Hamilton left Darlington Raceway Thursday saying the "Ugly Duckling" wasn't so ugly after all -- and Ward Burton joined brother Jeff in breaking Jeff Gordon's track record. Driving an unpainted (heavily gray, yellowish-primered) Richard Petty-owned Pontiac that was involved in an accident at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham during the GM Goodwrench Service 4000 a couple of weeks ago, Hamilton turned in the fastest speed during the final private test session leading up to Darlington's TranSouth Financial 400 on Sunday, March 24. Hamilton piloted Petty's Pontiac at a speed of 170.277 mph, just shy of 1995 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Gordon's record of 170.833 mph, which was set last year. "It may look like an ugly duckling right now, but it sure is quick," said Hamilton. "She's running pretty sweet. It looks like a mass of bondo, but we'll have our STP colors on it when we get back. "We brought two cars here and really hadn't planned to run the car crashed in Rockingham. I'm glad we did. We wrecked it pretty good, but it's proven to be a tough ole' race car." Hamilton has the chance to capture his first career triumph at Darlington on the 30th anniversary of his car owner's initial Darlington win - the 1966 TranSouth event. The seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion swept both races in 1967, the last of his triumphs at the 1.366-mile oval. Hamilton was joined by Ward Burton, the older of the two brothers, who was the quickest at 170.690 mph, followed by Hamilton, 1993 & 95 Daytona 500 champion Dale Jarrett (169.865 mph), Jeff Burton (169.689 mph) and Robby Faggart (164.193 mph). Two rookie drivers joined Jarrett in testing for the March 23 DURA-LUBE 200 Presented by Pep Boys NASCAR Busch Series race. Jarrett was at 163.375 mph with Stanton Barrett (162.297 mph) and Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Mike Laughlin Jr. (158.632 mph) third and fourth, respectively. With testing concluded, the track will open Friday, March 22, for Busch Pole Award Qualifying for both the TranSouth Financial 400 and DURA-LUBE 200. The 17th DURA-LUBE 200 gets the green flag on Saturday, March 23, at 1 p.m. with the running of the 40th TranSouth Financial 400 set for a 1 p.m. start on Sunday, March 24.

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Richard Petty , Stanton Barrett