Testing At The Brickyard

SPEEDWAY, IN. (July 18)- - Jeff Gordon took to the track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a two day test session on July 16-17 in preparation for the Brickyard 400 on August 5. The winner of the Brickyard 400 has gone on to win the Winston Cup title the past three seasons. During the test session, Gordon turned the second fastest lap touring the 2.5-mile track at an average speed of 176.481. Due to new NASCAR rules eliminating bump stops and other aerodynamic advantages, it's unlikely that the track qualifying record of 181+ miles per hour will be challenged when qualifying gets underway on August 3.

Gordon won the event in 1994 and 1998 and looks to become the first three-time stock car winner at the Brickyard. Heís also won three poles at the race. His earnings in seven Brickyard races total $3,276,076. "Itís been a very special place," said Gordon, who spent his formative racing years living in nearby Pittsboro, Indiana. "Just to come here and be able to be a part of the inaugural Brickyard 400, that was all my dreams come true."

In the midst of a championship battle with Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd, Gordon is in a much better position than he was when he came to the Brickyard in 2000. "We were not on top of our game," he said. "This year, weíre on top of our game." One thing Gordon isnít considering doing, at least at this time, is a Memorial Day double of the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Loweís Motor Speedway as another Indiana racer, Tony Stewart, did for the second time May 27. "I never rule out anything," he said. "I donít think itís going to happen as long as Iím competing full time in a Winston Cup car, as long as the schedule is the way it is and the commitments I have to make for my sponsors. Iím very committed to NASCAR. I own part of my race team now. There is so much going on in the business side of things as well as driving the race car, it just takes up any spare time that I have. Iím the kind of person who if Iím going to do something, Iím going to dedicate the proper amount of time I think it takes to do it and do it right. And I just donít see that happening while Iím running a full season of Winston Cup."

Twenty-five cars took to the track for the two-day test session. The other half of the Winston Cup field, assigned based on car owner points as of June 15, is scheduled to test at the track on July 24-25. Jeff Gordon drove a primer blue car with red flames and a yellow "24" on the door and roof, which was his regular scheme devoid of all sponsor decals. Gordon's fastest lap of the day came when a thin cloud cover enveloped the track. "This place is real temperature-sensitive," Gordon said. "It makes a difference. It's the same for everybody."

Tuesday, July 17

Fastest laps: (speeds from IMS PR)
Jimmy Spencer-177.560, Jeff Gordon-176.481, Dale Earnhardt Jr-175.425, Jeff Green-175.281, Jason Leffler-174.835, Joe Nemechek-174.835, John Andretti-174.778, Mark Martin-174.700, Todd Bodine-174.463, Ricky Craven-174.408, Ward Burton-174.314, Jerry Nadeau-174.095, Rusty Wallace-173.940, Rick Mast-173.314, Brett Bodine-173.267, Terry Labonte-173.220, Ron Hornaday-172.977, Hermie Sadler-171.749, Mike Bliss-171.602, Andy Hillenburg-171.595, Sterling Marlin-170.694, Steve Park-170.145, Kurt Busch-170.142, Jeff Burton-169.591, Mark Green-167.193

Monday, July 16

Fastest laps: (speeds from IMS PR)
Todd Bodine-176.229, Steve Park-175.833, Jeff Gordon-175.227, Jeff Burton-174.740, Sterling Marlin-174.122, Jerry Nadeau-174.115, Ward Burton-173.816, Jimmy Spencer-172.891, Joe Nemechek-172.612, Terry Labonte-172.553, Andy Hillenburg-172.480, Ricky Craven-172.348, John Andretti-171.795, Rick Mast-171.602, Jeff Green-171.595, Mike Bliss-171.507, Dale Earnhardt Jr-171.096, Mark Martin-170.526, Hermie Sadler-169.565, Brett Bodine-169.370, Kurt Busch-169.342, Rusty Wallace-168.681, Jason Leffler-168.064, Ron Hornaday-167.302, Mark Green-164.171

Brickyard Testing Photos:

+Heading onto the track | +From the right side | +Into turn one

+Wearing the HANS device | +On the warm-up lane

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