McLAUGHLIN POSTS FASTEST SPEED IN DAYTONA NASCAR BUSCH SERIES TEST DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Mike "Magic Shoes" McLaughlin saved the best for last -- the last day of a busy three-day NASCAR Busch Series stock car test at Daytona International ...
McLAUGHLIN POSTS FASTEST SPEED IN DAYTONA NASCAR BUSCH SERIES TEST
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Mike "Magic Shoes" McLaughlin saved the best for last -- the last day of a busy three-day NASCAR Busch Series stock car test at Daytona International Speedway -- as he clocked the fastest speed of the weekend Sunday in preparation for the season-opening Goody's Headache Powders 300 on Feb. 17.
McLaughlin, a former NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour champion from Waterloo, N.Y., was clocked at 186.955 mph in his Royal Oak Chevrolet Monte Carlo. His run capped a busy session in which 41 teams tried out the 2.5-mile trioval, with four drivers topping the 186 mph mark.
Meanwhile, Jeff Purvis and Phoenix Racing continued their strong showing in Speedweeks testing at Daytona. Purvis was the fastest among the teams on hand Saturday and was the first to cross the 186 barrier in the test. Purvis, who won the Busch Pole Award for the Series' last superspeedway run in the Humminbird Fishfinder 500k at Talladega Superspeedway, turned a best lap of 48.285 seconds, an average speed of 186.393 mph.
Purvis, who will compete in an entire big league stock car series for the first time when he takes on the 1996 NASCAR Busch Series, is eagerly awaiting the challenge. "So far things look good with everything we've tested including the Winston Cup and ARCA cars," said Purvis, who won the 1993 Daytona ARCA 200. "Of course you don't always know how fast everybody else really is. Every car we've rolled off the trailer at Daytona has been real fast. Hopefully, they'll continue like that.
"The team has worked hard over the winter spending a lot of time working to make the program better. All that work has paid off. The cars are fast. The (timing) clocks don't lie. We'll see the results in February. I like reading the newspapers and seeing my name in there. These guys are putting it there and I hope we see it more and more this year."
The busy month of January testing continues Monday as nearly 20 General Motors NASCAR Winston Cup teams -- including six Pontiac teams -- begin a three-day test, Jan. 15-17. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand is open daily at no charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with access through the Visitors' Center. Guided tours of the Speedway are also available from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a nominal fee.
TOP 20 BUSCH SERIES TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 14**
NO DRIVER/CAR SPEED
34 Mike McLaughlin/Chevy 186.955 mph 32 Dale Jarrett/Ford 186.216 57 Jason Keller/Chevrolet 186.097 3 Jeff Green/Chevrolet 185.970 87 Joe Nemechek/Chevrolet 185.947 23 Chad Little/Pontiac 185.805 74 Randy LaJoie/Chevrolet 185.770 43 Rodney Combs/Chevrolet 185.536 98 Jeremy Mayfield/Ford 185.330 38 Dennis Setzer/Ford 185.303 4 Jeff Purvis/Chevrolet 185.303 47 Jeff Fuller/Chevrolet 185.132 25 Johnny Rumley/Chevrolet 184.729 64 Bobby Dotter/Chevrolet 184.661 15 Tony Stewart/Pontiac 184.600 71 Kevin Lepage/Chevrolet 184.498 70 Dale Fischlein/Chevrolet 184.317 40 Tim Fedewa/Ford 184.226 54 Rich Bickle/Ford 184.226 92 Larry Pearson/Chevrolet 184.185
* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES CUMULATIVE DAYTONA TEST SPEEDS* Daytona International Speedway -- Jan. 12-14, 1996
DRIVER/NO/CAR DATE TIME SPEED
Mike McLaughlin/#34 Chevrolet 1-14 48.140 186.955 Jeff Purvis/#4 Chevrolet 1-13 48.285 186.393 Dale Jarrett/#32 Ford 1-14 48.331 186.216 Jason Keller/#57 Chevrolet 1-14 48.362 186.097 Jeff Green/#3 Chevrolet 1-12 48.395 185.970 Joe Nemechek/#87 Chevrolet 1-14 48.401 185.947 Chad Little/#23 Pontiac 1-14 48.438 185.805 Randy LaJoie/#74 Chevrolet 1-14 48.447 185.770 Rodney Combs/#43 Chevrolet 1-14 48.508 185.536 Jeremy Mayfield/#98 Ford 1-14 48.562 185.330 Dennis Setzer/#38 Ford 1-14 48.569 185.303 Jeff Fuller/#47 Chevrolet 1-14 48.614 185.132 Johnny Rumley/#25 Chevrolet 1-14 48.720 184.729 Bobby Dotter/#64 Chevrolet 1-14 48.738 184.661 Tony Stewart/#15 Pontiac 1-14 48.754 184.600 Kevin Lepage/#71 Chevrolet 1-14 48.781 184.498 Ted Musgrave/#9 Ford 1-12 48.789 184.468 Larry Pearson/#92 Chevrolet 1-12 48.803 184.415 Dale Fischlein/#70 Chevrolet 1-14 48.829 184.317 Tim Fedewa/#40 Ford 1-14 48.853 184.226 Rich Bickle/#54 Ford 1-14 48.853 184.226 Mike Dillon/#72 Chevrolet 1-14 48.890 184.087 Curtis Markham/#63 Pontiac 1-14 48.893 184.075 Patty Moise/#14 Ford 1-14 48.937 183.910 Buckshot Jones/#00 Ford 1-14 48.944 183.884 Glenn Allen Jr/#99 Chevrolet 1-14 48.945 183.880 Jim Bown/#51 Chevrolet 1-14 48.945 183.880 Stanton Barrett/#49 Chevrolet 1-13 48.992 183.703 Pete Orr/#88 Chevrolet 1-12 49.011 183.632 David Green/#95 Chevrolet 1-13 49.018 183.606 Michael Waltrip/#12 Ford 1-14 49.046 183.501 Michael Ritch/#02 Chevrolet 1-13 49.078 183.382 Jimmy Kitchens/#50 Ford 1-14 49.114 183.247 Peter Gibbons/#09 Chevrolet 1-14 49.122 183.217 Derrike Cope/#26 Ford 1-14 49.203 182.916 L.W. Miller II/#22 Chevrolet 1-14 49.358 182.341 Andy Belmont/#36 Ford 1-14 49.619 181.382 Tommy Houston/#6 Ford 1-13 49.626 181.357 Mike Harmon/#24 Chevrolet 1-14 49.841 180.574 Jerry Marquis/#8 Chevrolet 1-14 50.014 179.950 Greg Clark/#53 Chevrolet 1-12 50.588 177.908
* = Electronic Times taken randomly throughout the test.
JEFF PURVIS TOPS DAY TWO OF DAYTONA NASCAR BUSCH SERIES TEST
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jeff Purvis and Phoenix Racing continued their strong showing in Speedweeks testing at Daytona International Speedway. Purvis was the fastest among the 41 teams on hand Saturday for NASCAR Busch Series testing in preparation for the Feb. 17 Goody's Headache Powders 300.
Talladega pole winner Purvis clocked in at 48.285 seconds, an average speed of 186.393 mph, for the fastest lap of the two days of testing.
Chad Little, the 1995 Goody's 300 winner, is showing a great deal of optimism as he looks toward the new season and the opening event of the series at Daytona.
"To win your first major NASCAR race at Daytona is unbelievable," reflected Little. "It's kind of overwhelming to think we're defending champions of the Goody's 300. We've got a brand new car, a new sponsor and a lot of enthusiasm for coming back here."
"We've got John Deere as our sponsor with a two year deal which includes us moving to Winson Cup in '97. Every team wants to move into Winston Cup but the determining factor is the sponsorship. It's a big jump from Busch to Cup."
"We're going to be racing the new Pontiac Grand Prix this year. We won six races last year with Ford so it was a big decision to move to Pontiac. We needed to move our program into the future. The timing was right in that Pontiac had the new body and was looking for new teams for '96."
TOP 20 BUSCH SERIES TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 13**
NO DRIVER/CAR SPEED 4 Jeff Purvis/Chevrolet 186.393 mph 32 Dale Jarrett/Ford 185.993 57 Jason Keller/Chevrolet 185.897 3 Jeff Green/Chevrolet 185.575 87 Joe Nemechek/Chevrolet 185.079 74 Randy LaJoie/Chevrolet 185.052 43 Rodney Combs/Chevrolet 185.002 23 Chad Little/Pontiac 184.843 64 Bobby Dotter/Chevrolet 184.517 71 Kevin Lepage/Chevrolet 184.351 40 Tim Fedewa/Ford 184.087 15 Tony Stewart/Pontiac 184.034 49 Stanton Barrett/Chevrolet 183.703 95 David Green/Chevrolet 183.606 47 Jeff Fuller/Chevrolet 183.531 02 Michael Ritch/Chevrolet 183.382 72 Mike Dillon/Chevrolet 183.344 54 Rich Bickle/Ford 183.236 63 Curtis Markham/Pontiac 183.221 98 Jeremy Mayfield/Ford 183.217
* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.
GREEN QUICKEST AS THREE-DAY DAYTONA NASCAR BUSCH SERIES TEST OPENS
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jeff Green led a 37-team contingent on the opening day of NASCAR Busch Series testing at Daytona International Speedway. Green, driving for seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champ Dale Earnhardt, was the fastest among the drivers who took times in the test session Friday in preparation for the Feb. 17 Goody's Headache Powders 300.
Green, who finished fourth in last year's season-ending point standings, was clocked at 48.446 seconds, an average speed of 185.774 mph in his GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
"We're gaining on it," said an enthusiastic Green. "The team feels good because we've run faster than last year's pole speed already without having it taped up or nothing."
Green, entering his second full season as a Busch competitor, is eager to get the 1996 season underway. "The pressure is still there, I promise you. I've gotten a year under my belt in experience working with these guys and a full season on the race track. I think there can be only good things to come from this race team."
"The Goody's 300 is really what it's all about for the team, for team owner Dale Earnhardt and for myself. If we can run in the top five all day and have a chance at winning the race then I would be happy because the team would be happy. I think we've got the car to win, don't get me wrong, but there are a lot of variables in winning the race."
TOP 20 BUSCH SERIES TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 12*
NO DRIVER/CAR SPEED
3 Jeff Green/Chevrolet 185.774 mph 32 Dale Jarrett/Ford 184.589 43 Rodney Combs/Pontiac 184.513 9 Ted Musgrave/Ford 184.468 92 Larry Pearson/Chevrolet 184.415 57 Jason Keller/Chevrolet 184.200 74 Randy LaJoie/Chevrolet 184.026 23 Chad Little/Pontiac 183.501 15 Tony Stewart/Pontiac 183.449 71 Kevin Lepage/Chevrolet 183.389 72 Mike Dillon/Chevrolet 183.277 99 Glenn Allen Jr./Chevy 183.243 4 Jeff Purvis/Chevrolet 183.105 70 Dale Fischlein/Chevrolet 182.704 63 Curtis Markham/Pontiac 182.667 64 Bobby Dotter/Chevrolet 182.637 00 Buckshot Jones/Ford 182.534 25 Johnny Rumley/Chevrolet 182.393 38 Dennis Setzer/Ford 182.338 95 David Green/Chevrolet 182.175
* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.
DALE JARRETT (#32 Band-Aid Ford) -- We'll be running 18 Busch Series races this year. It's the most we've run in a while. We'll run all the companion races, those that run with Winston Cup races, and we'll also run the final race of the series at Homestead. We've got a good situation and a good sponsor in Band-Aid. It's a program we can grow with. The car we have here is the same one we put on the outside pole for last year's Goody's 300. It's been sitting in the shop since that race. We've tried a few things with the car so far. We feel like we're in pretty good shape, although just like in Winston Cup those Chevrolets are pretty fast.
(ON THE WINSTON CUP PROGRAM) -- I don't know what else we can do. We're maxed out with the rules they allow us. Until some changes are made it will be the same story as last year. We're going to have to do something in the Ford camp, build a special car or something. We can't expect NASCAR to give us everything, but if they want an equal playing field like they say then we need some more help because it's nowhere near close to equal.
PATTY MOISE (#14 Dial-Purex Ford) -- The team didn't come into existence until early November so we've been working really hard just to get things ready. On top of that, we had to put in 48 hours straight work so we could be ready for this test session with this new car. We're trying to play catch up right now, but that's the way it is with a brand new team. We are excited about the opportunity that our sponsor, Dial, has given us. It's great. We've got the new car plus we bought three other cars and a transporter from a team which raced some last season. We're rebuilding those cars and we'll see how they go. We have also ordered two new cars for the team. Basically, we're at it fast and furious.
JASON KELLER (#57 Slim Jim Chevrolet) -- We've got a new sponsor in Slim Jim, but we're the same hard working team as last year. The opportunities are there for a good season and we hope we can make the best of it. We've been running really good so far and we want to continue doing that when we come back for the (Goody's Headache Powders 300) race. We had a good season last year and we're looking for a better one this year. We want to be very competitive in the Goody's 300. We qualified eighth last year, ran well early on, fell off the pace a bit and eventually got caught up in an accident right at the end of the race and finished 18th.
Realistically, I think we can leave Daytona with a top 10 -- or better -- finish. I feel we've got a good qualifying car. Now we've got to work on getting it to handle good in the draft. If you start the season off good at Daytona it can snowball for you the rest of the year. My crew chief, Steve Addington, and I have worked together now for eight years. I think we're really coming into our own in the Busch Series. I feel more comfortable in knowing what to expect out of the cars and how to get what I want out of the car. I think you're going to see a more confident Jason Keller this year. I hope with the confidence comes performance. TONY STEWART (#15 Ranier Racing Pontiac) -- Being in Daytona is sure different than (Indianapolis) Raceway Park or Winchester. It feels good to be here, these guys have been working for over a year on getting this program together. It's been frustrating because we've been wanting to get down here for so long. Now that we have the opportunity it feels good to get behind the wheel down here. (On Ranier Racing) I guess these guys have been looking at some open wheel guys for some time, and with all of the exposure we get from ESPN running the open wheel cars, I guess they saw something there. They came up to one of the races and introduced themselves and we've been working together ever since.
(On Jeff Gordon) Anytime you get compared to Jeff Gordon, it has got to make you feel good. Jeff is such an excellent driver. But, I'm my own person and I don't want to be Jeff Gordon, I want to be my own person. The comparison does nothing but help me. If I can have half the success that Jeff has had, then I'll be all right. We'll just take it as it comes. (On possible driving choices) We haven't shut ourselves out on anything, we're concentrating on the stock car stuff right now, but if something should arise in IRL (Indy Racing League) we're certainly going to listen. Our main focus right now is to run Busch Grand National and some ARCA races. Anything else we do past that is secondary.
(On the Pontiac) The car has been excellent all week. By being a rookie here and not having any testing done before, I feel real comfortable with the race car. Gary Snipes is the crew chief and has done an excellent job, the car is comfortable, the new body style is great, I think I've got a good race car sitting underneath me! We'll probably run 18-20 BGN races and 5-6 ARCA races. We haven't decided if we're going to run for rookie-of-the-year honors yet -- once we get our scheduling done we will make that decision.