Nevada Test Site

LAS VEGAS, NV.- - Jeff Gordon took to the track for two days of testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday-Wednesday, January 27-28. Partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the 50's greeted the teams. Hardly a warm stretch in the desert, but it certainly beats the ice storm in the Charlotte, North Carolina area this week.

The test marked the first time that Gordon took to the track under the new 2004 NASCAR rules for the spoilers and tires on the cars. Reducing the spoilers significantly reduced the amount of downforce on the rear of the car. In addition, a softer Goodyear tire for 2004 will wear out faster making handling a priority.

The first real test of the new tires/spoiler package brought the luminaries from NASCAR out to the desert. NASCAR Chairman Brian France, President Mike Helton, Senior VP Paul Brooks, and Nextel Cup series director John Darby were all on hand to watch the test session. With the amount of interest in the Nevada test, one could assume it was a classified endeavor at Yucca Flat.... but it was just a bunch of race cars going around a D-shaped track.

Incidents: Tuesday-- In the morning session, Scott Wimmer lost control entering turn one and backed into the wall after a spin. Wimmer returned to the track in another car within the hour.
Wednesday-- In the afternoon session, Jamie McMurray lost control and crashed hard in turn two. McMurray wasn’t injured, but it ended a long day for Target Ganassi Racing. McMurray had an engine problem earlier in the day, while teammate Sterling Marlin blew an engine during the morning session. The day’s only other incident was an early-morning spin by rookie Scott Riggs who spun off turn four but didn't make any contact with the wall.

Testing Photos:
Wednesday Photos | Tuesday at LVMS | Monday's session | Kyle Busch prepares for a run

Jeff Gordon's testing comments:

On the test session at Las Vegas
JG: "It's such an important test. It's really my first time to get behind the wheel with the new tires, the new spoiler package and just see what we've got. I'm hoping that (the new tire) forces the cars to give up a little bit more so we're not doing as many two-tire stops and gas-and-go (stops) and things like that but I'll really have no idea until after the first day."

How does the Las Vegas test differ from a restrictor plate track test?
JG: "When you test at Daytona or Talladega, the driver really just doesn't have any input and there's not much you can do-- you're just kind of driving the car around. One of the reasons why we come here to Vegas is because this is a track where the car is important, the driver is important-- all of it is something that we can learn from to take to other tracks and really find out what kind of a downforce package and balance package we have with our racecar. This (test) is actually a lot more fun than Daytona because, as a driver, you're so limited on what you can do as far as how you're able to change the speed of the car-- you really can't do anything at Daytona or Talladega-- where, here, you can play a big role in it."

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