NASCAR News

Vickers leads 2nd week of Brickyard 400 testing

 

July 13, 2004

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INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, July 13, 2004 Ė NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rookie Brian Vickers was fastest among 22 drivers participating in the two-day NASCAR test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 12-13, turning an unofficial lap of 49.5721 seconds, 181.554 mph July 13 in the No. 25 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet.

Teams are at Indianapolis preparing for the 11th Brickyard 400, scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. (EST, local time) start on Sunday, Aug. 8.

Vickersí time, in the first test of his career at Indyís historic 2.5-mile oval, was only seven-tenths of a second slower than the official event record of 48.822, 184.343 set by Kevin Harvick during qualifications for the 2003 race. Jimmy Spencer recorded the fastest lap of practice July 12 at 178.517, and Jeff Green was fastest in the first round of private testing, on July 6-7, with a lap of 181.641 on the second day.

ďThe test went really well, (and) I tell you what, I love this place,Ē Vickers said. ďItís a lot of fun, itís very unique and just the energy. It just has that energy about it Ė the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Iíve always admired this racetrack and respected it and to finally be out here and be on it is pretty neat.

ďYou make that first lap Ö I just about missed Turn 1, just taking in the scene, the grandstands and the frontstretch. To leave here the fastest is a pretty neat experience.Ē

Running second to Vickers in the two-day test was Jason Leffler in the No. 60 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet at 180.787. Mark Martin was third at 179.690 in the No. 6 Viagra Ford, Elliott Sadler was fourth at 179.587 in the No. 38 M&Mís Ford and three-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon was fifth at 179.456 in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.

The total lap count for the two-day test was 3,455 laps, and Mark Martin turned the most of any driver, with 316. Twenty-two drivers combined to turn 1,734 laps Monday, while 21 drivers combined to turn 1,721 Tuesday. Jeff Burton only tested Monday.

Vickers said the Speedwayís unique layout, with long straightaways and tight, flat turns that many stock car drivers find extremely challenging, suits his style.

ďI have always like the unique places,Ē he said. ďI like Darlington; itís one of my favorite places, and itís tricky. It (Indianapolis) has four distinct corners that you canít trim the same. There are so many different ways to get around the place. I know itís a one-groove racetrack, but you can take so many different lines.

ďI donít have it figured out. Iíll probably learn something when I come back. Iíll probably learn something new 10 years from now, if I have that opportunity, but I have enjoyed the time Iíve spent here so far.Ē

Vickers has one of the best driving mentors for Indianapolis in the business, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon, who is the only three-time Brickyard 400 winner and a four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season champion.

The first day of the three-day 2004 Brickyard 400 weekend is August 6 Ė exactly 10 years to the day that Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400. While many of the top-tier drivers from that first race are still competitors in the NEXTEL Cup Series, along with a new crop of superstar drivers, Gordon said the tools necessary to win have changed tremendously.

ďItís all about the competition, the competition just gets tougher,Ē Gordon said. ďThat first year we had great horsepower, and we had a decent-handling race car. The horsepower made up for it. Nowadays you have to have both, for sure. And youíve got to have everything right, pit stops, pit strategy.

ďThis is a race where everybody brings their best stuff, puts their best effort forward. If you donít, youíre certainly not going to have a chance of winning, and even if you do, it doesnít secure anything.Ē

Rusty Wallace, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing, echoed Gordonís sentiment that any opportunity to win at Indianapolis is special. While Gordon has managed to win the event three times, Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR champion, has faced the extreme disappointment of finishing second at the Brickyard in 1995, 2000 and 2002, the most runner-up finishes of any driver.

ďIt just seems like yesterday that we came to the Brickyard (the first time),Ē Wallace said. ďIíve had a lot of great runs here, three second places, honestly I really thought Iíve won this place three times, but I havenít.

ďItís definitely one of the top-three tracks of the year to win. Itís a tough one because everybodyís testing, the entire NASCAR circuit comes here. Everybody raises the bar; itís a real pressure-packed weekend.

ďIt still gets down to handling. Itís one of the toughest tracks (where) we go to get the front of the stuck to turn real well. Itís one of the toughest to pass on, but itís also the most historical, and that makes it a lot of fun. Iíve run real good here so I enjoy it a lot.Ē

Nine additional teams are scheduled to participate in private testing on July 19-20. The drivers tentatively scheduled to participate are: former Brickyard 400 winners Dale Jarrett (1996, 1999) and Bill Elliott (2002), Dave Blaney, Ward Burton, Robby Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart and Kenny Wallace.

Reserved-seat Race Day tickets for the Brickyard 400 remain available. Tickets, parking and camping reservations can be purchased on the World Wide Web at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.


NASCAR NEXTEL CUP TESTING UNOFFICIAL SPEEDS (Combined - Monday & Tuesday)

Pos.

Car No.

Driver

Speed (mph)

Date

Session

Total Laps

1.

25A

Brian Vickers

181.554

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

149

2.

60X

Jason Leffler

180.787

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

142

3.

6A

Mark Martin

179.690

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

316

4.

38

Elliott Sadler

179.587

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

218

5.

24A

Jeff Gordon

179.456

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

103

6.

23

Tony Raines

179.011

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

156

7.

2A

Rusty Wallace

178.833

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

143

8.

4A

Jimmy Spencer

178.517

Mon., 7/12/04

Afternoon

141

9.

19A

Jeremy Mayfield

178.244

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

243

10.

77A

Brendan Gaughan

178.027

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

134

11.

22

Scott Wimmer

177.528

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

204

12.

01B

Joe Nemechek

177.362

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

264

13.

9B

Kasey Kahne

176.489

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

219

14.

41A

Casey Mears

176.378

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

161

15.

16A

Greg Biffle

176.259

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

203

16.

10A

Scott Riggs

176.257

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

173

17.

49

Ken Schrader

175.727

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

91

18.

21A

Ricky Rudd

175.072

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

142

19.

99

Jeff Burton

174.582

Mon., 7/12/04

Morning

87

20.

14

Larry Foyt

172.669

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

74

21.

98

Todd Bodine

172.601

Mon., 7/12/04

Morning

42

22.

72

Kirk Shelmerdine

161.827

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

50

 

 

 

 

 

Total:

3,455


NASCAR NEXTEL CUP TESTING UNOFFICIAL SPEEDS INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Pos.

Car No.

Driver

Speed (mph)

Date

Session

Total Laps

1.

25A

Brian Vickers

181.554

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

74

2.

60X

Jason Leffler

180.787

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

68

3.

6A

Mark Martin

179.690

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

149

4.

38

Elliott Sadler

179.587

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

105

5.

24A

Jeff Gordon

179.456

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

50

6.

23

Tony Raines

179.011

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

65

7.

2A

Rusty Wallace

178.833

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

67

8.

19A

Jeremy Mayfield

178.244

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

132

9.

77A

Brendan Gaughan

178.027

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

47

10.

22

Scott Wimmer

177.528

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

106

11.

01B

Joe Nemechek

177.362

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

157

12.

9B

Kasey Kahne

176.489

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

99

13.

41A

Casey Mears

176.378

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

108

14.

16A

Greg Biffle

176.259

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

116

15.

10A

Scott Riggs

176.257

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

79

16.

49

Ken Schrader

175.727

Tues., 7/13/04

Afternoon

60

17.

21A

Ricky Rudd

175.072

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

56

18.

14

Larry Foyt

172.669

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

57

19.

4A

Jimmy Spencer

172.279

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

97

20.

98

Todd Bodine

171.943

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

7

21.

72

Kirk Shelmerdine

161.827

Tues., 7/13/04

Morning

22

 

 

 

 

 

Total:

1,721

 

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