Testing for the 49th annual Daytona 500 is now in the books.
On Wednesday, the second wave of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams worked around the weather to wrap their three-day test.
Paul Menard, in the No. 15 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., posted the fastest time on Wednesday and for the entire test. In the afternoon drafting session, which was cut short at 2 p.m. due to rain showers, Menard turned a lap of 187.099 mph.
In the morning session, with the exception of Kurt Busch's speed in the Car of Tomorrow, three-time Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon posted the fastest speed with a lap of 184.596.
Gordon, who won his first Daytona 500 in 1997, says there have been no surprises in this year's testing sessions at Daytona International Speedway.
"What you unload with, you can pick up a very small amount from the time you unload until the time you leave here," Gordon said. "You can play around with all these little things but it seems like nothing really is that big thing you are hoping to find. It's pretty standard. We had some cool things on our list to try -- some areo and some mechanical - to try to make the car just go through the corner better. A lot of it is just attitude of the car -- the aerodynamics - trying to figure out what gets that spoiler out of the air the most within the rules."
When combining all the speeds from both waves of Daytona 500 testing, Menard was the fastest followed by Kyle Busch (186.765), Jeff Green (186.722), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (186.606) and David Ragan (186.536). All of those speeds were posted in drafting sessions.
Martin's New Look: For the first time since the 1988 Daytona 500, Mark Martin won't be behind the wheel of a No. 6 Ford for Roush Racing.
Martin, winless in 22 Daytona 500 starts, is entering his first year with Ginn Racing as driver of the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet. He will race in 23 events, including the Feb. 18 Daytona 500, while Regan Smith will compete in the remaining events.
Being behind the wheel of a Chevrolet was a slight adjustment for Martin but he is already comfortable with his new team.
"Just because I stayed with Jack Roush for 19 years, doesn't make it wrong for me to drive for someone else - it just makes it strange," Martin said. "I'm actually already beyond that. To me and many of my fans, I'll always be No. 6 and a part of me will always be No. 6 but that's emotions and this is racing."
COT On Track: Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge, hopped behind the wheel of Car of Tomorrow machines on Wednesday. The Car of Tomorrow will make its debut at select NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races beginning this spring and is expected to race at Daytona International Speedway beginning with the 2008 Daytona 500.
Busch's top speed in the Car of Tomorrow in the morning session was a 191.188 mph.
Said Busch: "I thought it was great. We had to make sure of fender clearances and we just went for two laps at a time and it really shook out to be positive. We played with spoiler angles, or wing angles, and the different combinations with the plate with fuel and air mixtures. I thought the car could handle any speed it wanted to go. It gets back to a little bit of what they have with the truck series, big drag that slows the car down aerodynamically, but an open motor that has the horsepower like we're used to at all our tracks. It was real interesting to drive."Next up: The NASCAR Busch Series will pull into DIS beginning Friday for testing in preparation for the Feb. 17 Orbitz 300. Among the drivers expected to participate in the first session on Friday, Saturday and Sunday include Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya, Jason Leffler and Marcus
NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest: The final two NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fests are set for Saturday and Sunday.
The NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest events start at 5 p.m. but fans will be able to enter the NEXTEL FANZONE beginning at 9 a.m. to watch all of the exciting testing action for the NASCAR Busch Series. Busch Series admission for the NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest is $10.
Fans will be able to get a sneak peek on NASCAR teams as they prepare for Speedweeks 2007 with inquisitive fan forums with many of their favorite drivers as well as enjoying all the state-of-the-art amenities in the popular NEXTEL FANZONE.
Also included in NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests will be bands, show cars, pit stop demonstrations, displays, a silent auction and passenger hot laps around the 2.5-mile tri-oval in pace cars (additional $20).
All testing sessions continue to be free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.
Speedweeks 2007 tickets available: Tickets for Speedweeks 2007 events, including the 49th annual Daytona 500, are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or by logging onto www.racetickets.com
Whitt Chevrolet 50.331 178.816
47 84A Brian Vickers Toyota 50.420 178.501
48 30 Stanton Barrett Chevrolet 50.480 178.288
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speeds from Wednesday afternoon at
Daytona International Speedway:
1 15A Paul Menard Chevrolet 48.103 187.099
2 5B Kyle Busch Chevrolet 48.189 186.765
3 21A Kenny Schrader Ford 48.294 186.359
4 39A Regan Smith Chevrolet 48.359 186.108
5 09B Mike Wallace Chevrolet 48.437 185.808
6 6A David Ragan Ford 48.442 185.789
7 18B J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 48.452 185.751
8 00B David Reutimann Toyota 48.455 185.739
9 78B Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 48.462 185.713
10 24B Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 48.480 185.644
11 11A Denny Hamlin Chevrolet 48.480 185.644
12 84A Brian Vickers Toyota 48.504 185.552
13 30 Stanton Barrett Chevrolet 48.511 185.525
14 99B Carl Edwards Ford 48.514 185.513
15 58A James Hylton Chevrolet 48.532 185.445
16 19A Elliott Sadler Dodge 48.536 185.429
17 01B Mark Martin Chevrolet 48.626 185.086
18 38C David Gilliland Ford 48.644 185.018
19 40A David Stremme Dodge 48.663 184.945
20 17C Matt Kenseth Ford 48.699 184.809
21 11B Denny Hamlin Chevrolet 48.716 184.744
22 45B Kyle Petty Dodge 48.740 184.653
23 01A Mark Martin Chevrolet 48.750 184.615
24 21C Kenny Schrader Ford 48.776 184.517
25 92 Kevin Lepage Dodge 48.798 184.434
26 6B David Ragan Ford 48.807 184.400
27 23A Dave Blaney Toyota 48.833 184.302
28 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Dodge 48.839 184.279
29 72A Brandon Whitt Chevrolet 48.862 184.192
30 36A Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 49.034 183.546
31 07C Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 49.073 183.400
32 55A Michael Waltrip Toyota 49.088 183.344
33 4A Ward Burton Chevrolet 49.093 183.326
34 39C Regan Smith Chevrolet 49.097 183.311
35 70H Johnny Sauter Chevrolet 49.190 182.964
36 00A David Reutimann Toyota 49.253 182.730
37 15B Paul Menard Chevrolet 49.262 182.697
38 84B Brian Vickers Toyota 49.272 182.660
39 18A J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 49.308 182.526
40 38A David Gilliland Ford 49.334 182.430
41 2A Kurt Busch Dodge 49.357 182.345
42 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 49.375 182.278
43 78A Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 49.379 182.264
44 45A Kyle Petty Dodge 49.406 182.164
45 31x Jeff Burton Chevrolet 49.482 181.884
46 12C Ryan Newman Dodge 49.513 181.770
47 36B Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 49.525 181.726
48 24A Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 49.533 181.697
49 49B Mike Bliss Dodge 49.541 181.668
50 12B Ryan Newman Dodge 49.636 181.320
51 70C Johnny Sauter Chevrolet 49.700 181.087
52 07A Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 49.751 180.901
53 99A Carl Edwards Ford 49.873 180.458
54 2C Kurt Busch Dodge 49.877 180.444
55 09A Mike Wallace Chevrolet 50.006 179.978
56 19B Elliiott Sadler Dodge 50.131 179.530