Setzer Fastest in GM Truck Test At Atlanta
Thursday, October 7, 2004
NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver Dennis Setzer trails Bobby Hamilton by just 56 points in the series¿ championship standings.
But the championship wasn¿t the only thing on Setzer¿s mind Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Setzer and three other General Motors drivers ¿ David Starr, Jack Sprague and Matt Crafton ¿ spent Tuesday and Wednesday prepping for next season¿s two races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Setzer led the unofficial speed chart for Wednesday¿s test, circling the 1.54-mile track in 31.00 seconds (178.839 mph). David Starr was second fastest with a lap of 31.26 seconds (177.351 mph), followed by Matt Crafton at 31.48 seconds (176.114 mph) and Jack Sprague at 31.60 seconds (175.443 mph)
¿This is a great time for us to prepare for the two races we¿ll have here next season,¿ Setzer said. ¿So even though we¿re right in the hunt for a championship, we have to kind of put that aside and focus on how to make sure we¿re back in the hunt next season too.¿
Not that everything the GM teams are working on is for the future. Setzer said they¿ll also be able to carry quite a bit of information over for their Oct. 16 race at Texas Motor Speedway.
¿The trucks run pretty much wide open both here and at Texas, and we get pretty good speed at both places,¿ Setzer said. ¿So all of this information will translate well to our strategy in Texas.¿
Setzer said the vastly different weather conditions ¿ hot and sunny on Tuesday, cool and overcast on Wednesday ¿ provided excellent feedback for the teams.
¿It¿s amazing, but the racing surface really changes quite a bit,¿ Setzer said. ¿We¿re recording those differences and trying to find the best setups for both conditions, because you never know what the weather will be when we come back.¿
Setzer also put to rest any fears that the new SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier might affect the racing line at Atlanta.
¿Not at all,¿ he said. ¿It¿s a huge improvement in terms of safety, and it really hasn¿t changed the line for us at all. Of course, we¿re just out here testing one by one, and it might be slightly different in race conditions, when guys are using the high line. But really, the positives outweigh the negatives so tremendously that it shouldn¿t be an issue."
NASCAR testing will continue throughout the next two weeks as drivers prepare for the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Ryan Newman will join the Ford fleet of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers to test Monday, Oct. 11, while Dawsonville¿s Bill Elliott will be on hand to test Tuesday, Oct. 12 and Wednesday, Oct. 13.
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.