FOUR-TIME POLE SITTER NEWMAN HAS NEW FOCUS AT AMS DURING MONDAY TEST
Monday, March 7, 2005
¿Rocketman¿ Ryan Newman has four straight pole positions at the fastest track in the NASCAR, but Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s fastest man didn¿t have speed on his mind during Monday¿s test at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Newman was in Atlanta for the first day of a two-day test for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500. Also testing were Scott Wimmer, Travis Kvapil, Jason Leffler and Busch driver Brandon Miller.
¿It¿s a really good track for us as far as the pole goes,¿ Newman said. ¿We¿re good here for parts of the race, but not the whole race, so that¿s what we¿re working on. We¿re working on long runs, tires, set-ups, and reliability.¿
And although he wasn¿t looking for speed, Newman again topped the unofficial speed charts. He circled his No. 12 Alltel Dodge around Atlanta¿s 1.54-mile quad-oval at 29.48 seconds (186.060 mph). Second fastest was Jason Leffler in the No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet, turning a lap in 29.84 seconds (185.790 mph).
¿Atlanta has high speeds and high banks,¿ Newman said. ¿You can race in the corners here, and there¿s more than one groove, and as a driver, what more could you ask for?¿
NEXTEL Cup rookie Travis Kvapil was more than eager to gain track time in his No. 77 Kodak Dodge Cup car.
¿Testing here is important especially for me being a rookie,¿ Kvapil said. ¿With this test time I¿ll be able to come back to the race track confident and comfortable.¿
Kvapil was third fastest for the day with a lap time of 29.95 seconds (185.109 mph).
¿The track has a lot of grip,¿ Kvapil said. ¿We¿re not sure if it¿s the cool temperature or the new tires, but we¿re real happy with the progress we¿ve made today.¿
Also testing was driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Scott Wimmer, who said he was finally feeling comfortable at the fast track again.
¿When I first came here, I had a real good feel for the track, even led some laps, and I thought I had a good handle on the place,¿ said Wimmer, who led nine laps during his debut in 2000. ¿But we¿ve been missing something since then. Today I feel like we¿re finally back on the right path. It¿s a difficult and very fast track, so it¿s hard to get a hold of.¿
Wimmer was the slowest among the Cup drivers for the day, turning in a time of 30.16 seconds (183.820 mph).
Busch driver Brandon Miller was also on hand for Monday¿s test, turning a top lap time of 30.53 seconds (181.592 mph).
Testing will continue throughout the week as drivers prepare for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend. All testing is closed to the public. Those expected to test are Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, Jeremy Mayfield, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Green, Bill Elliott and Carl Edwards.
Tickets are still available at great prices for the upcoming Golden Corral 500 weekend. Tickets start at $30 and a limited number of weekend packages remain for just $65. To purchase tickets call the ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or visit www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com.