KENSETH FASTEST IN HOMESTEAD TESTING FOR NOVEMBER 13-15 JIFFY LUBE MIAMI 300 HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Oct. 7, 1998) - Matt Kenseth recorded the fastest time in unofficial testing at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, turning in a lap of ...
KENSETH FASTEST IN HOMESTEAD TESTING FOR NOVEMBER 13-15 JIFFY LUBE MIAMI 300
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Oct. 7, 1998) - Matt Kenseth recorded the fastest time in unofficial testing at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, turning in a lap of 147.139 mph on the 1.5-mile circuit in preparation for the November 13-15 Jiffy Lube Miami 300.
Kenseth and Mike McLaughlin, the two drivers chasing Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the 1998 championship, were among seven drivers testing for the NASCAR Busch Series season finale.
'We're in good shape," admitted Kenseth, driver of the Robbie Reiser-owned Lycos.com Chevrolet. "We ran good here last year (finishing sixth), and we've got two pretty good cars ready for next month's race."
McLaughlin, the current track record holder, was second fastest with a lap of 146.659 mph - less than three-tenths of a second off his track record lap of 147.771 mph, set in qualifying for last year's Jiffy Lube Miami 300 qualifying.
Also practicing were Joe Nemechek, Dave Blaney, Andy Michner, Ashton Lewis and John Preston.
The only incident of the two-day session came on Wednesday morning when Michner, who is preparing for his first Busch Series start, lost control and tagged the turn four wall in the BACE Motorsports Chevrolet. Michner, a successful USAC midget racer, finished eighth in the 1998 Indianapolis 500. He was taken to Homestead General Hospital, where he was under observation for a broken leg and foot abrasions.
McLaughlin, running third in the points, admitted that the championship is not his biggest concern entering the season homestretch.
"We're going to try and win some more races, and let the points fall where they may," McLaughlin admitted. "Dale Jr. and Matt both are having a good year, and they deserve to shoot it out. Winning at Charlotte last weekend was the biggest win I've ever had. I'm real happy for everyone involved. We won the race with pit strategy. It takes a team effort to win, and my guys really did the job."
Nemechek, the defending winner of the Jiffy Lube Miami 300, ran a fast lap of 146.341 mph, but left the two-day sessions with unanswered questions.
"We're trying to get a new car to work, and we've still got the car we won with last year," explained Nemechek. "That car's still fast. We thought the new one would be a little bit quicker, but now we're not sure. We'll have to go back, evaluate all of our notes, and make a decision on which car to race in November."
Blaney, a former World of Outlaws champion, turned in a lap of 145.591 mph, in his first visit to the circuit.
"We learned a lot, I learned a lot," said Blaney, who is running a limited schedule in the Bill Davis Amoco Pontiac. "Any track time I can get is good."
Other drivers testing were Ashton Lewis and John Preston, driving a pair of Fords fielded by Ruark Racing. Lewis, who once raced in the IMSA Barber Saab Pro Series in the streets of Miami, ran a lap of 144.0 mph, while Preston, a NASCAR Busch North winner at Holland, N.Y., had a best speed of 142.857 mph.
Tickets are still available for the Jiffy Lube Miami 300. For additional information, call (305) 230-RACE, or visit the speedway's official website at www.racemiami.com.