Daytona Testing A.M. Session
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Preseason Thunder began Monday morning at Daytona International Speedway, with Jeremy Mayfield the first driver to hit the track as the countdown to the 48th Daytona 500 officially began.
Twenty-one drivers in 37 cars took laps during the morning test. Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet topped the speed charts at 187.029 mph, narrowly beating teammate Jimmie Johnson.
The rest of the top-five speeds were posted by two-time Daytona 500 winner Bill Elliott, who is driving the No. 36 for MB2 Motorsports, Matt Kenseth and Elliott Sadler.
In a strange twist, MB2 hired Elliott from Evernham Motorsports, which last year announced it had signed former MB2 driver Scott Riggs for 2006.
Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were the only drivers to put two cars in the top 10 of the speed chart, while Kenseth was the fastest among Ford drivers in the new-for-'06 Fusion.
"We had two cars here [Monday], obviously," Earnhardt said, "one of them was a lot better on acceleration. I'm really pleased with what I feel underneath the hood. It's only a tenth-faster, but it has a little more acceleration."
Sadler, who was second-fastest among the Ford drivers, said the Fusion has gotten off to a racy start.
"I've been very happy with the way my car feels in the racetrack," he said. "I like the Fusion body, the nose on it. ... I can't wait to get it into some drafting practice."
Defending Cup Series champion Tony Stewart is not testing the No. 20 car this week. Subbing for Stewart is Mike McLaughlin, who was sixth-fastest at 185.927 mph.
Three rookies also are getting their first taste of preseason Cup testing. Reed Sorenson was 20th on the chart at 184.456. Two-time defending Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. was 26th and David Stremme 33rd.
Ryan Newman, who opted to run an Intrepid nose on the No. 12 Dodge in last season's finale at Homestead, returned to Daytona with a full-bodied Charger. He was 17th-fastest in Monday's morning test.
"There were times and places where the Charger was good last year, and there were times and places it wasn't," Newman said of the frustration with the first-year model. "Honestly, we're still working on how we're goint to apprach and do somethings we were struggling on last year.
"We ran really well with the Charger at the restrictor-plate tracks," he said, "[and] we look forward to starting Daytona as strong as ever. ... We'll see how it works out."
The first Nextel Cup Series testing period runs through Wednesday, with two sessions each day. This week's testing features drivers who were in odd-numbered positions (as of July 13, 2005). Even-numbered owners'-points drivers are scheduled for Jan. 16-18.
Earnhardt had a somewhat tongue-in-cheek response to the grind of three days of testing. "Three days is a long of time to be here testing. It really gives those guys who are cheating a lot of time to get things figured out.
"I think two days is plenty, if you're running under the rule book -- at least the one they give us."
Truck Series drivers will be at the track Jan. 13-15, and the Busch Series will wrap Preseason Thunder on Jan. 20-22.
Pos. Car Driver Speed
1 24 Jeff Gordon 187.029
2 48 Jimmie Johnson 186.928
3 36a Bill Elliott 186.521
4 17a Matt Kenseth 186.023
5 38a Elliott Sadler 186.020
6 20a Mike McLaughlin 185.927
7 8a Dale Earnhardt Jr. 185.628
8 36b Bill Elliott 185.300
9 8b Dale Earnhardt Jr. 185.132
10 4 Scott Wimmer 185.071
11 31x Jeff Burton 184.983
12 19a Jeremy Mayfield 184.885
13 80b Jeff Fuller 184.809
14 17b Matt Kenseth 184.710
15 20b Mike McLaughlin 184.642
16 43a Bobby Labonte 184.543
17 12b Ryan Newman 184.525
18 38b Elliott Sadler 184.509
19 31 Jeff Burton 184.483
20 41 Reed Sorenson 184.456
21 12a Ryan Newman 184.411
22 43b Bobby Labonte 184.305
23 21b Ken Schrader 184.260
24 23 Mike Skinner 184.143
25 4a Scott Wimmer 184.090
26 1b Martin Truex Jr. 184.019
27 23a Mike Skinner 184.015
28 9a Kasey Kahne 183.805
29 21a Ken Schrader 183.790
30 80a Jeff Fuller 183.733
31 1a Martin Truex Jr. 183.718
32 9b Kasey Kahne 183.554
33 40x David Stremme 183.236
34 40 David Stremme 183.083
35 41x Reed Sorenson 182.953
36 19b Jeremy Mayfield 182.619
37 78a Kenny Wallace 180.963
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Tonight at 7:00 EST on Speed is a 30 minute show about today's tests. :yay
Speed To Have Over 70 Hours Of Speedweeks Coverage
SPEED, celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2006, will be live from Daytona Speedweeks for 10 days, beginning Feb. 10 at 2pm/et with Speedweeks on SPEED. In addition to live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (Feb. 17, 8pm/et), the IROC race (Feb. 17, 6pm/et), the ARCA race (Feb. 11, 4pm/et), SPEED also will air multiple practice and qualifying sessions from all of NASCAR's three major divisions. SPEED favorites, including Trackside, Inside Nextel Cup, NASCAR Live, NASCAR Performance, SPEED News and NASCAR Victory Lane also will be on-site, with a new high-energy pre-race show entitled NASCAR RaceDay [instead of NASCAR This Morning] set to make its Daytona debut. "NASCAR RaceDay will take the team from NASCAR this Morning and add several new segments, including tech reports from crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Bootie Barker, off-track items from Vicki Johnson and Craig Reynolds and long-form interviews with the weekend's storymakers," said Chris Long, SPEED VP of Studio Production. "John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace will continue to anchor the show and offer their no-holds-barred perspective, something our viewers have come to expect from SPEED. NASCAR RaceDay will set the tone for the entire weekend." SPEED will have multiple stages on-site, including its 53-foot mobile stage truck just outside the main tunnel entrance, a central location inside the track in the FanZone and a third stage positioned atop the viewing garage in the NASCAR Nextel Cup team area.
SPEED also has multiple specials planned for Speedweeks, including NASCAR Five Years Later, a look at NASCAR five years after the loss of Dale Earnhardt, a Daytona documentary hosted by Dave Despain, a look back at Toyota's NASCAR experience and Champions Quest, a one-hour special on the Rolex 24 at Daytona efforts of NASCAR champions Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace. As part of its coverage, SPEED will announce the 2005 SPEED Channel Driver of the year with a special one-hour program on Feb. 15 beginning at 8pm/et.(SPEED Channel)(1-19-2006)
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It's nice to see NASCAR back on the tube. :up
Paul Tracy to compete in NASCAR
Paul Tracy: Will Give NASCAR a Whirl
RotoWire.com Staff - RotoWire.com
Friday, January 20, 2006
Update: After over a year of speculation as to whether or not Tracy would make his way into NASCAR, it is official. He has inked a 5-race deal that will see him behind the wheel of a stock car in the NASCAR Busch Series, bgnracing.com reports. Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly will be fielding the #34 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Tracy's 5-race NASCAR debut.
Recommendation: After weeks of speculation, it's a done deal. Tracy will compete in five races for Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly. This will be a good small stint of races to get Tracy accustomed to stock car racing. We wouldn't be surprised if Tracy's Busch Series efforts expand over the course of the 2006 season.
Tracy officially signs to drive in NASCAR
Jan. 20, 2006. 06:25 PM
Paul Tracy has high hopes for his NASCAR future — he'd love to race on home soil and he'd like to collect rookie of the year honours.
The star Champ Car driver from Toronto officially made the jump to NASCAR today, signing a deal with Frank Cicci Racing to drive in five Busch Series races in 2006.
While Tracy says his main focus is to win the Champ Car title again this season — he won the open-wheel crown in 2003 — he's been open about his desire to try stock car racing and is excited about testing the oval waters.
"I want to get out there and get experience and see if it's for me, and then really focus on what does Paul Tracy do in the future?" Tracy said in a conference call from Daytona.
He planned to head straight out to the track to test his Busch car for the first time after he got off the phone.
The Busch Series is one step below NASCAR's elite Nextel Cup circuit.
Rumours are buzzing with speculation that NASCAR will add a Canadian race in 2007. When and if it happens, Tracy wants to be there behind the wheel.
"I think that's part of the plan obviously," Tracy said of a Canadian race. "They haven't made any hard announcement on where or when it's going to be, but definitely if there is, I definitely would like to be in that race."
Tracy will be driving the Frank Cicci No. 34 car. The team is co-owned by NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
Tracy will make his NASCAR debut at Daytona next month then follow up with appearances in Mexico City on March 5, Las Vegas on March 11, Indianapolis on Aug. 5 and Fontana on Sept. 2.
"This is the biggest race of the year, Daytona," said Tracy. ``This is the one that everybody wants to be at, this is the one every sponsor wants to be involved in."
In between races, Tracy said he'll be doing plenty of testing to get adjusted to the different types of tracks. Learning to drive a Busch car, he added, will be like starting from scratch.
But Tracy says switching back and forth between Champ and Busch won't be a problem — in fact, he relishes the chance to learn to drive different types of cars, something virtually unheard of these days compared to in the 1970s when drivers such as Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt did it.
"That really doesn't happen anymore because everything has become so specialized, and I think this is really exciting for me to be able to drive all these different kinds of cars and get a lot of experience," said Tracy. "It's really fun."
Tracy has a year left on his contract with Forsythe Racing, and he had kind words for the team Friday for allowing him to explore his options.
So if all goes well, would he consider making the jump to racing NASCAR full-time next season?
"I've got to get out on the track and test and race and see how it all goes," said Tracy. "Obviously it's something I'm interested in, but we'll just see how it goes, see how things progress.
"I think I've got a good opportunity in these five races. . . Maybe some doors open up. My focus is to gain experience in this and try to win the Champ Car World Series title again this year."
If he does make the jump permanently, he would still be eligible to win rookie of the year next season. Drivers lose their rookie status after they've done seven races.
Tracy's sponsors are Sport Clips and American Crew.
"We are extremely pleased and excited about partnering with Paul Tracy for his NASCAR debut in the Busch Series," Sport Clips CEO and founder Gordon Logan said. "Paul brings an excitement and passion to the sport that will greatly expand the fan base for the Busch Series. . ."