Studying For Their Finals

Even after finishing 10th in last year’s inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Jeff Gordon is still leery about the 1.5-mile facility.

That’s why he knows it’s important for him and his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet team to get every bit of knowledge it can about the track prior to the Pennzoil 400 on Nov. 12. Gordon’s team is one of several testing there for two days this week.

“You always want to get as much time as you can,” Gordon said during a break in testing. “The test is pretty good. We’re just gathering information. It’s always good anytime you can get information, especially here where we haven’t raced but once.

“It’s certainly one of the most unique tracks. It’s one that’s really important to test at and get information in the computers. It’s such a tricky track to get around. It’s hard to find the right combination. Some of these drivers have raced in Busch races and some in truck races down here, so they’ve got a little bit of an advantage on the rest of us.”

That’s why Gordon will also participate in the Busch Series Miami 300 on Nov. 11. The race is Gordon’s final planned Busch Series start of his career. The 2000 Busch Series finale will also be the curtain call for Mark Martin on what has been a tremendous Busch Series career.

Other Winston Cup drivers such as Dave Blaney, Mike Bliss, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Stacey Compton, Tony Stewart, Joe Nemechek, Kevin Lepage, Dale Jarrett, Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Mike Skinner and Jimmy Spencer have more than one previous start at Homestead-Miami in one series or another.

Jarrett won the inaugural Busch Series race at the track in 1995, while Nemechek has Busch Series triumphs there in 1997 and 1999. Burton (1998) and Lepage (1996) have also won at Homestead in Busch Series competition.

Among the other Winston Cup drivers testing this week: Terry Labonte, Jarrett, Spencer, Skinner, Wally Dallenbach, Robert Pressley, John Andretti, Casey Atwood, Bill Elliott, Ricky Rudd, Kurt Busch, Johnny Benson, Sterling Marlin, Ted Musgrave, Randy Tolsma and Steve Park.

Tolsma, who will make his Winston Cup debut in the Pennzoil 400 in the No. 61 E-Link Pontiac, wrecked during Tuesday’s test session. Previously raced by Ernie Irvan, the car was recently purchased by Team Rensi Motorsports from MB2 Motorsports. Tolsma was uninjured.

Busch Series drivers have also been present for a two-day test session at Homestead, continuing through Thursday. Among the Busch Series drivers shaking down their machines are: Kevin Harvick, Mike Dillon, Blaise Alexander, Brandon Butler, Nemechek and Buckshot Jones.

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