BUSCH: Monday Daytona Testing Washed Out

NASCAR Busch Series test washed out at Daytona By Dave Rodman DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2000) Thirty-two NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division teams cooled their heels Monday in the garage area at Daytona International Speedway,...

NASCAR Busch Series test washed out at Daytona By Dave Rodman

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2000) Thirty-two NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division teams cooled their heels Monday in the garage area at Daytona International Speedway, as intermittent showers washed out the first day of a planned three-day test in preparation for the NASCAR 2000 season-opener -- the Feb. 19 NAPA Auto Parts 300.

"Cooling it" wasn't hard as temperatures in the low 60s, mixed with rain that at times was a downpour kept track action limited to jet blowers that nearly had the 2.5-mile racing surface ready to go twice in the day.

While the eight NASCAR Busch Series drivers who had opted to test at Talladega Superspeedway, including all three Cicci-Welliver Racing entries and three cars affiliated with Brewco Motorsports, were able to get in a full day of running in cold temperatures Monday, Daytona's testees saw their track time cut to two days.

"It's not that big a deal, except we wanted to test today and tomorrow and then head home," said Hut Stricklin while he stood outside the IWX Motor Freight hauler. "Now we'll just test Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We have another car we want to get finished. The car we have here qualified pretty well here last year, so we think we're in good shape."

Stricklin also said he had made a decision in the last week to concentrate his NASCAR 2000 efforts on the NASCAR Busch Series team operated by Steve Coulter. Stricklin tested Cale Yarborough Motorsports' Ford Taurus last week in Ford's final pre-season Daytona test.

"I have made the commitment to this program -- I want to get my career back on track and I think this is the best opportunity to do that," Stricklin said of Coulter's effort, which since its days of running in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has been backed by his own trucking company, IWX Motor Freight. "I think this operation is a first-class deal. It's a program that is better than its record has shown."

Stricklin also said the team was on the verge of possibly securing a primary sponsor, which would virtually double its available backing since Coulter has not been lacking financial support for his team, with veteran team manager Dave Fuge.

The teams on hand at Daytona included a liberal sprinkling of rookies and veterans, led by defending NAPA Auto Parts 300 winner Randy LaJoie's Bob Evans Restaurants Chevrolet. In addition to Stricklin, drivers with liberal NASCAR Winston Cup Series experience who are on hand include Bobby Hillin, Kenny Irwin, Greg Sacks and Elton Sawyer.

On the other hand, a double-handful of rookie drivers are also on hand, including NASCAR Winston Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Scott Pruett, who will split time in two PPI Motorsports Fords with teammate Anthony Lazzaro; rookie P.J. Jones and teammate and 1999 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Tony Raines; open-wheel standouts Jason Leffler, Dave Steele and Gus Wasson; and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series transplants Jay Sauter, David Starr, Kevin Harvick and two-time and defending champion Jack Sprague, who will test a Chevrolet for team owner Andy Petree.

A section of the Oldfield Grandstand will be open at no charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday with access through the DAYTONA USA lobby.

-nascar.com- jjj

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers David Starr , Kevin Harvick , Jay Sauter , Elton Sawyer , Hut Stricklin , Scott Pruett , Tony Raines , Jack Sprague , Anthony Lazzaro , Andy Petree , Dave Steele , P.J. Jones , Greg Sacks , Gus Wasson , Cale Yarborough