Stremme fastest on Day 2 at Lowe's
David Stremme posted the fastest lap on day one of a scheduled two-day testing session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Monday, as 51 NASCAR Nextel Cup teams took to the track in preparation for the upcoming Nextel All Star Challenge and Coca Cola 600 later this month.
Stremme’s fast lap of 187 mph in the evening session was the fastest time among the 81 cars that took time on the track.
"The tires are still really hard and there's not a lot of grip. You've got to be really careful," said Stremme. "Other than that, things are going well. We are just taking our time and working through things."
Jeremy Mayfield, who along with the other Toyota teams have struggled just to make the field this season, ran the second quickest lap of 185.134 mph. Paul Menard, one of the part-time teams looking to make the show in the Coca-Cola 600, lead the Chevrolet camp with a lap of 184.932 mph. Ward Burton was fourth fastest in a Chevy with a lap of 184.767 mph, followed by Reed Sorenson, the fastest Dodge with a lap of 184.319 mph.
Monday’s test was the first time the Toyota Camry has taken time on the 1.5-mile quad-oval, and although Mayfield’s laps during the afternoon and evening session were encouraging, the Toyota teams still had difficulty finding speed.
David Reutimann, who has been carrying the banner for Toyota so far this season having made the most starts, was 19th fastest in the afternoon session and 25th quickest in the evening session.
"All the teams are working hard on their test plans and seem to be gaining ground early in today's session," said Andy Graves, senior manager of Toyota Racing Development U.S.A. "Lowe's Motor Speedway is one of those race tracks that makes dramatic changes from day to night so I feel like there will be even more to learn from the later sessions. We are continuing to gain information from these test sessions that we are able to take back to TRD and analyze prior to returning for the race in just a couple weeks."
Only one yellow flag waved during the session when Denny Hamlin looped the no. 11 FedEx Chevy during the evening session. Hamlin was unhurt in the incident.
Testing for the Nextel Cup Series teams will wrap up Tuesday before the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series take to the track on Thursday and Friday followed by Busch Series testing next Monday. Pete McCole