Hamilton¿s No. 32 Tide Chevrolet topped the day¿s unofficial speed chart, turning a lap of 29.55 seconds (187.614 mph). Stremme was second fastest in the No. 32 Trimspa Dodge with a lap of 30.01 seconds (184.738 mph); Pressley was just behind Stremme, recording a lap at 30.26 seconds (183.212 mph).
With just a few weeks to settle into his new role at PPI Motorsports, Hamilton Jr. and the team used Monday¿s test as a training ground. They experimented with an array of spoilers, springs and tires, trying to hit on the perfect combination for the high banks and fast speeds of Atlanta¿s quad-oval.
¿This place is super fast, so you can try a lot of different aero stuff,¿ Hamilton said. ¿We brought everything from the fab shop we could throw at it.¿
Hamilton Jr. was brought on board at PPI just four weeks ago, when former driver Ricky Craven was released. Although he has just four races under his belt with his new team, Hamilton Jr. said he already feels right at home. Much of his Busch team has made the transition to NEXTEL Cup with him, and former crew chief Harold Holly is currently on board as a consultant.
¿We all knew each other and raced either together or against each other, so it¿s pretty comfortable already,¿ Hamilton Jr. said. ¿It¿s not like meeting your father-in-law for the first time.¿
Along with the great chemistry of his not-so-new team, Hamilton will also enter the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend with three previous NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts in Atlanta, including a top finish of 15th in 2001.
¿I just know what to expect from this track now,¿ Hamilton Jr. said. ¿I have years of notes, and hundreds of miles, here. That will help our confidence a lot when we come back.¿
NASCAR testing will continue throughout the next three weeks as drivers prepare for the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. All test sessions are closed to public; but check the Atlanta Motor Speedway website at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com for more information and daily testing updates.