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Daytona Testing 2005


DAYTONA BEACH, FLA.- - Jeff Gordon's off-season of rest and relaxation officially came to an end shortly after 10am on Tuesday, January 11 when he took to the track at the Daytona International Speedway for the first of three days of testing. Gordon was joined by more than 20 other drivers who are preparing for the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 20. The DuPont team tested two cars during the session, including a new superspeedway car built over the winter.

There are numerous structural improvements at the track for 2005. The infield, including the garage area, has been completely redone. The new garage area features more room for the teams working on the cars and more access for the fans to view the teams at work. Included are some subtle improvements such as the garage numbers on a "pit board" type sign outside of the garage stalls to make it easier for drivers to find their garage. The new glass enclosed infield tower hovers over the landscape. But it's still the same track once the drivers pull off of pit road. The track where Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp finished in a side-by-side duel in the first Daytona 500, the track where David Pearson limped across the finish line at 20 miles per hour in a wrecked car to win in 1976, the track where Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison wrecked on the backstretch on the final lap of the 1979 race, the track where Bobby Allison held off his son Davey in a race for the ages in 1988, the track that saw the culmination of 20 years of near-misses come to an end when Dale Earnhardt won the 1998 event, the track where Jeff Gordon made a daring pass on the apron in 1999 to take the lead and deny Earnhardt back-to-back victories, and the track that saw the sport's most tragic event in 2001. This is a place where history is made. On Februrary 20, they play for real.


AUDIO: Jeff talks about the changes at Daytona


Daytona Testing Photos:

Thursday
<<Drivin' | <<High line | <<Zooming along | Pulling up | In line
<<Drafting practice | <<Robbie Loomis and Kyle Busch | <<Autographs

Wednesday
<<Corners | <<24B up close | Laps, laps, and more laps in 24A
<<The zoo | <<24A and 24B | <<DuPont team at work | <<Jeff and Robbie
<<Jeff, Kyle, Boris, and Ricky | <<Daytona FanFest autographs |

Tuesday
<<DuPont crew gets down to business | <<Autographs: more of the same
<<24B in the trioval | <<Waiting on pit road | <<24A side view
<<24B side view | <<JG answers questions following the test session
<<24A on track | <<Kurt visits with Jeff | <<Jeff and Mike Bliss share a laugh
<<Car 24A on pit road | <<24B in the garage | <<Pushing


THURSDAY, JANUARY 13

Morning rain washed out testing until the clouds passed and the sun reappeared around 11 am. The cars took to the track after 1 pm. The final day of testing was extended into the evening hours to allow the teams to get a full day of testing in. For the third day in a row, Gordon turned laps in 24A and 24B. The difference on Thursday was an hour of drafting practice in the afternoon. Gordon took turns leading and trailing in the draft to get a sense of how his car would perform under pseudo-race conditions.

Thursday afternoon drafting speeds
1. (0b) Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 186.959
2. (42a) Jamie McMurray, Dodge, 186.459
3. (16b) Greg Biffle, Ford, 186.189
4. (77b) Travis Kvapil, Dodge, 186.181
5. (19b) Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 186.070
6. (15b) Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet, 185.893
7. (23a) Mike Skinner, Dodge, 185.782
8. (38b) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 185.759
9. (5b) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 185.705
10. (99b) Carl Edwards, Ford, 185.697
11. (88b) Dale Jarrett, Ford, 185.686
12. (8a) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 185.670
13. (21b) Ricky Rudd, Ford, 185.659
14. (41a) Casey Mears, Dodge, 185.563
15. (12b) Ryan Newman, Dodge, 185.513
16. (24b) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 185.296
17. (36a) Boris Said, Chevrolet, 185.086
18. (11a) Jason Leffler, Chevrolet, 185.021
19. (33b) Kerry Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 184.294
20. (45a) Kyle Petty, Dodge, 184.230
21. (20a) Mike McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 183.899
22. (97a) Kurt Busch, Ford, 183.891
23. (00a) Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet, 183.419
24. (98a) Randy LaJoie, Chevrolet, 183.206


WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12

Gordon once again took to the track in cars 24A and 24B. Over the course of two days, car 24A has turned the fastest laps of any car at the test session. Of course, the driver who lagged towards the bottom of the speed chart likely hasn't shown what he can really do just yet.

Wednesday afternoon speeds
1. Dale Jarrett, Ford, 48.269 sec, 186.453 mph
2. Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 48.456, 185.736 3. Greg Biffle, Ford, 48.624, 185.094
4. Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 48.656, 184.972
5. Elliott Sadler, Ford, 48.668, 184.926
6. Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 48.691, 184.839
7. Randy LaJoie, Chevrolet, 48.693, 184.831
8. Boris Said, Chevrolet, 48.695, 184.824
9. Kurt Busch, Ford, 48.773, 184.528
10. Mike McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 48.787, 184.475
11. Ricky Rudd, Ford, 48.818, 184.358
12. Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet, 48.865, 184.181
13. Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet, 48.890, 184.087
14. Kyle Petty, Dodge, 48.957, 183.835
15. Jason Leffler, Chevrolet, 48.967, 183.797
16. Ryan Newman, Dodge, 49.008, 183.643
17. Travis Kvapil, Dodge, 49.074, 183.397
18. Carl Edwards, Ford, 49.087, 183.348
19. Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 49.100, 183.299
20. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 49.125, 183.206
21. Jamie McMurray, Dodge, 49.156, 183.091

Wednesday morning speeds
1. Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 48.705 sec, 184.786 mph
2. Dale Jarrett, Ford, 48.778, 184.509
3. Greg Biffle, Ford, 48.784, 184.487
4. Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 48.804, 184.411
5. Boris Said, Chevrolet, 48.887, 184.098
6. Elliott Sadler,Ford, 48.912, 184.004
7. Randy LaJoie, Chevrolet, 48.919, 183.978
8. Kurt Busch, Ford, 48.920, 183.974
9. Mike McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 49.019, 183.602
10. Ryan Newman, Dodge, 49.064, 183.434
tie Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 49.064, 183.434
12. Ricky Rudd, Ford, 49.077, 183.385
13. Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet, 49.082, 183.367
14. Travis Kvapil, Dodge, 49.125, 183.206
15. Carl Edwards, Ford, 49.213, 182.879
16. Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 49.260, 182.704
17. Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet, 49.275, 182.648
18. Jason Leffler, Chevrolet, 49.288, 182.600
19. Jamie McMurray, Dodge, 49.310, 182.519
20. Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 49.317, 182.493
21. Kyle Petty, Dodge, 49.349, 182.375
22. Mike Skinner, Dodge, 49.464, 181.951
23. Casey Mears, Dodge, 49.548, 181.642


TUESDAY, JANUARY 11

Gordon tested cars 24a and 24b during the session. The weather was a bit warm for mid-January with temperatures in the high 70's with overcast skies. He turned the fastest lap in both sessions, which featured the drivers in mock qualifying runs. One interesting sidebar is that Mike McLaughlin was in the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet in place of Tony Stewart who skipped the session.

Jeff's comments
"The first three or four years I'd do Cup testing I'd look forward to it -- then there was a period of time where I'd dread it. Now I just realized how important it is to be behind the wheel of the car, getting laps and getting the team information. These days the information you're getting is so important. I think most of what we've done has already been done in the wind tunnel -- there aren't many major things we do here, it's all fine-tuning. There aren't many major things to change like we used to do here -- but it's still important and influences your chances of winning the championship."

Tuesday afternoon speeds
1. Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 185.448 mph
2. Randy LaJoie, Chevrolet, 185.231
3. Boris Said, Chevrolet, 184.642
4. Elliott Sadler, Ford, 184.604
5. Greg Biffle, Ford, 184.456
6. Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet, 184.170
7. Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 184.109
8. Kurt Busch, Ford, 184.042
9. Dale Jarrett, Ford, 184.000
10. Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 183.872
11. Morgan Shepherd, Dodge,183.527
12. Ricky Rudd, Ford, 183.516
13. Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 183.251
14. Travis Kvapil, Dodge, 183.236
15. Carl Edwards, Ford, 183.228
16. Mike McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 183.214
17. Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet, 183.160
18. Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 182.994
19. Ryan Newman, Dodge, 182.860
20. Jason Leffler, Chevrolet, 182.838
21. Kyle Petty, Dodge, 182.745
22. Kerry Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 182.626
23. Jamie McMurray, Dodge, 182.437

Tuesday morning speeds
1. Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 185.265 mph
2. Boris Said, Chevrolet, 185.181
3. Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 184.506
4. Greg Biffle, Ford, 184.430
5. Kurt Busch, Ford, 184.419
6. Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet, 184.158
7. Dale Jarrett, Ford, 183.993
8. Elliott Sadler, Ford, 183.824
9. Ricky Rudd, Ford, 183.666
10. Ryan Newman, Dodge, 183.411
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 183.329
12. Jason Leffler, Chevrolet, 183.311
13. Mike McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 183.206
14. Travis Kvapil, Dodge, 183.098
15. Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 182.960
16. Kyle Petty, Dodge, 182.886
17. Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet, 182.778
18. Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 182.726
19. Carl Edwards, Ford, 182.685
20. Jamie McMurray, Dodge, 182.231
21. Mike Skinner, Dodge, 181.701
22. Kerry Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 181.697
23. Casey Mears, Dodge, 181.459




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