Jimmie Johnson Looks For Repeat; Earnhardt Jr. Fastest

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Jimmie Johnson took a brief moment when driving through the tunnels of Daytona International Speedway for this week's NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder testing sessions to look back on his 2006 Daytona 500 victory. "I rolled in thinking, man, I won last time we were here for this race, and same time I thought, man, also the champion coming back," said Johnson, who is the reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion. Johnson and his No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement team have been fast throughout the first session of testing as they try to become the first back-to-back winners of the Daytona 500 since Sterling Marlin in 1994-95. The California driver was second fastest on Monday and on Tuesday morning was the third fastest driver with a lap of 183.925 mph. Johnson and his team have spent the off-season enjoying the memories of their Daytona 500 victory as well as their 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship and are now focused on duplicating that success in 2007. "It's been a great emotional ride for myself and the team," Johnson said. "Last night I took the guys to dinner and we just sat around and had some fun and talked about the season, last season and what we want to do this year, and that's go out and try to win another championship." After having the afternoon session on Monday rained out, teams were able to test in ideal conditions on Tuesday and will now have additional testing time on Thursday morning. "If you look at the hours, we might end up getting more on-track time due to the rain," Johnson said. "Today the weather conditions have been very predictable and we've been able to go out and repeat and yesterday the wind were really changing and messing with us as the storm moved in. "Today is going to be a solid day for the teams doing their single-car stuff and we'll just see how the week unfolds. My team, we're hopeful that we work through all of our test matrix and we can leave maybe midday Wednesday or the end of Wednesday if that's the case." Riggs Not Missing This Year's Daytona 500: Scott Riggs, without the luxury of a provisional, missed the field for last year's Daytona 500 after not being able to earn a spot through Bud Pole Qualifying or the Gatorade Duel at Daytona. But the driver of the No. 10 Valvoline Dodge bounced back to earn two poles and a 20th finish in the championship standings. This year, he has enough owner's points to be guarranted a starting spot in "The Great American Race." "Not qualifying for the Daytona 500 last year didn't really set us back," Riggs said. "We never really forgot about it, but it didn't set us back. If anything it pushed us forward. It made us strive harder to focus on the job at hand. We weren't thinking down the road. We were just thinking one race at a time. Once you miss one (race) you realize you can't take anything for granted." Daytona 500 Pace Car Unveiling: Tony Raines, driver of the No. 96 Chevrolet for Hall of Fame Racing, and Jeff Green, driver of the No.66 Chevrolet for Haas CNC Racing, helped unveil the Chevrolet Corvette that will pace the field for the 49th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18. Fastest On Tuesday: 2004 Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr., behind the wheel of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, bounced to the top of the speed chart on Tuesday afternoon with a fast lap of 186.606 mph. Casey Mears was second with a lap of 186.440 followed by Tony Raines (186.428), Reed Sorenson (186.416) and Bill Elliott (186.397). Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Ford for Roush Racing, was the fastest driver during Tuesday morning's session with a lap of 184.090 mph. 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 Morning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speeds from Tuesday at Daytona International

Speedway: 1. Jamie McMurray, Ford, 184.090 mph
2. Mike McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 183.981
3. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 183.925
4. Ricky Rudd, Ford, 183.872
5. Tony Raines, Chevrolet, 183.805
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 183.801
7. Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 183.509
8. Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 183.490
9. Boris Said, Ford, 183.408
10. Greg Biffle, Ford, 183.385
11. Reed Sorenson, Dodge, 183.318
12. Dale Jarrett, Toyota, 183.296
13. Jeff Green, Chevrolet, 183.255
14. Bill Elliott, Dodge, 183.255
15. Sterling Marlin, Chevrolet, 183.135
16. Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 183.001
17. Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 182.945
18. Dave Blaney, Toyota, 182.871
19. Scott Riggs, Dodge, 182.808
20. Bobby Labonte, Dodge, 182.771
21. Scott Wimmer, Chevrolet, 182.408
22. Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 182.068
23. P.J. Jones, Ford, 181.899
24. Brian Vickers, Toyota, 181.631
25. Kirk Shelmerdine, Chevrolet, 181.433
26. Eric McClure, Chevrolet, 180.901

Afternoon NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speeds from Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway: 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 186.606 mph 2. Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 186.440
3. Tony Raines, Chevrolet, 186.428
4. Reed Sorenson, Dodge, 186.416
5. Bill Elliott, Dodge, 186.397
6. Ricky Rudd, Ford, 186.312
7. Scott Riggs, Dodge, 186.278
8. Jamie McMurray, Ford, 186.231
9. Greg Biffle, Ford, 185.947
10. Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 185.709
11. Sterling Marlin, Chevrolet, 185.162
12. Dale Jarrett, Toyota, 184.813
13. Bobby Labonte, Dodge, 184.759
14. Mike McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 184.649
15. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 184.570
16. Jeff Green, Chevrolet, 184.339
17. Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 184.320
18. Boris Said, Ford, 183.974
19. Dave Blaney, Toyota, 183.902
20. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet, 183.895
21. Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 183.658
22. Brian Vickers, Toyota, 182.994
23. Eric McClure, Chevrolet, 182.901
24. Scott Wimmer, Chevrolet, 182.711
25. PJ Jones, Ford, 182.700
26. Kirk Shelmerdine, Chevrolet, 182.667

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