NASCAR Preseason Thunder Day 2: Evernham Ties Help Rookie Wolfe to Top of Speed Chart DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 23, 2005) -- Advice from a veteran teammate is always a major boost for any rookie. When that advice comes from one of the NASCAR...
NASCAR Preseason Thunder Day 2: Evernham Ties Help Rookie Wolfe to Top of Speed Chart
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 23, 2005) -- Advice from a veteran teammate is always a major boost for any rookie.
When that advice comes from one of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup "Chase for the Championship" contenders, all the better.
Paul Wolfe (No. 6 Hungry Drivers/Ragu/Hellman's/Country Crock Dodge) is that rookie driver. Jeremy Mayfield (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) is the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series mentor. Both drive for Evernham Motorsports, the tie that binds them together.
Wolfe obviously absorbed Mayfield's advice during his first NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing sessions at Daytona International Speedway. After posting the 29th-fastest time in Saturday's initial single-car run, Wolfe improved to 12th in Sunday's morning single-car practice then catapulted to the top of the list in the afternoon session with the fastest lap of the day at 181.134 mph.
"I guess this is a good way to start off the first test and hopefully we'll go to California and Las Vegas next week and do the same thing," Wolfe said.
"It was nice to have Jeremy kind of as a teammate running down here," Wolfe said of Mayfield, who will compete against Wolfe in the No. 64 Miller High Life Dodge for Rusty Wallace in the NASCAR Busch Series this year in selected races.
"He was a great help to me ... any questions, I was able to feel free and go up [to him] and know that I'm going to get some honest information. And being a rookie coming into this series, that means a lot. I think it's going to be a big plus for me all season," he said.
A 26-year-old native of Milford, N.Y., Wolfe is a product of the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series, the same series that produced last year's NASCAR Busch Series champion, Martin Truex Jr.
Wolfe is one of many new faces in the series who, like Truex one year ago, hopes to make an impact in his first full season.
"It's a good mix," Wolfe said of the young talent in the NASCAR Busch Series garage heading into 2005. "It's exciting not to be the only rookie, and I think there's a pretty strong mix of candidates for rookie of the year, an honor we're hoping to run for.
"It's going to be tough, but it's good to be out there with other rookies because many times, veterans don't give you much help."
NEWS OF NOTE
On tap for Monday ... Media covering Day 12 -- the final day, weather permitting -- of NASCAR Preseason Thunder are scheduled to meet with Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) and Jon Wood (No. 47 Clorox/Wisk Ford), who joined ST Motorsports this year after spending the last four years in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Hamlin will be available for interviews from Noon -- 12:20 p.m. with Wood following from 12:30 -- 12:50 p.m. The interviews will conclude at the end of the afternoon test session featuring the fastest driver of the day.
Green back at -- and on -- track on Sunday ... David Green (No. 27 KLEENEX/SCOTT Brands Ford), the 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion, was back on the track Sunday after a quick trip to the hospital to deal with kidney stones on Saturday. After taking the day to rest following the onset of the malady, Green spent the start of the test day Sunday meeting with his team, then took the wheel during the afternoon single-car and drafting sessions. BREWCO Motorsports teammates Greg Biffle and Aaron Fike -- who will share time in the No. 66 Duraflame Ford this season -- tested for Green Saturday and during the morning session Sunday. "I feel much better today," Green said. "It's just the competitor in me, I guess. Greg (Biffle) took the car around a few laps earlier today and said the car was running fine. I appreciated him taking it out, but it was tough watching him drive my car." Green, who posted the fifth-fastest lap of the afternoon drafting session (186.085 mph), plans on testing during the final day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder on Monday.
Crosby attempts series history ... Kim Crosby (No. 24 Bodreaux's Butt Paste Chevrolet) hopes to go from the classroom to the racetrack to make history in the NASCAR Busch Series. Crosby, who resigned her position as assistant principal at Slidell (La.) Junior High School on Jan. 7 to accept a full-time ride with the GIC-PSE 24 entry, is attempting to become one of the first female drivers since Patty Moise and Shawna Robinson to run a full schedule in the series; Christi Passmore (No. 50 Vassarette Chevrolet) is the other. Moise made 24 starts out of 31 races in 1990, while Robinson competed in 24 of 28 events in 1993 to set the standard. "A great season for me would be to qualify for every single race on speed," Crosby said. "My ultimate goal is to be the first female to win a NASCAR race. It's important to me not only to be the first female [to win], but also to kind of set a standard and let the other young ladies around the nation know we can compete, we're here and we put our firesuit on one leg at a time just like everyone else does."
It's still Daytona ... While Daytona International Speedway has only two NASCAR Busch Series races each year, the season-opening Hershey's Take 5 300 is still considered a big race in the eyes of competitors. Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Ball Park Franks Ford), who was third-fastest in the morning drafting session (186.792 mph) on Sunday noted that although it is just one of 35 races in 2005, there is still great significance attached to the event. "This is a very small part of our season," Compton said, "but it's still Daytona."
Sunday's fastest driver ... Paul Wolfe registered the fasted lap of the single-car testing sessions on Sunday with a high speed of 181.134 mph. Kevin Harvick (No. 21 Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Chevrolet) was the fastest in both morning and afternoon drafting sessions with an overall top lap speed of 187.235.
What: NASCAR Preseason Thunder -- NASCAR Busch Series.
Where: Daytona International Speedway.
When: Jan. 22-24 (Jan. 25 rain date).
Track layout: 2.5-mile tri-oval superspeedway.
Test schedule: 9 a.m. - Noon; 1 -- 5 p.m. each day, weather permitting.