Haas Carter Rules Indy Testing

INDIANAPOLIS – Haas-Carter Racing is slowly getting its act together this season.

After Todd Bodine and Jimmy Spencer qualified 1-2 at Chicagoland Speedway for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race last weekend, Bodine clocked the fastest lap in first day testing for the August 5 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Monday. On Tuesday, it was Spencer’s turn, and Spencer turned in the fastest lap of the two-day session at 177.560 mph.

In a second car, Spencer turned the third-fastest lap of the morning session Tuesday with a lap of 175.730 mph. Spencer said he’s looking forward to the trip back to Indy in a couple of weeks.

“This is a big event, and it’s special to come up here to Indianapolis,” Spencer said. “We’ve run well in the past, and we brought up some different cars this time. We’re trying to get qualifying down, and we’re trying to get practice runs down and see what’s the best we can do with computers on the cars. You’re not allowed computers when you come back. You just try to do a ton of things and evaluate it, and when you come back, hopefully you’re in good shape.”

Two-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon posted the second-fastest lap on Monday, and turned the same trick on Tuesday at 176.481 mph.

All speeds, however, were far short of the Winston Cup track record of 181.072 mph, set by Brett Bodine a year ago.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted the fastest time in the afternoon session on a hot, muggy day in Indianapolis. His No. 8 Chevrolet made a lap of 175.425 mph, in qualifying trim. His DEI teammate, Steve Park, ran in qualifying trim on Monday and in race trim on Tuesday.

“With the rule changes and the lack of spring rubbers and stuff, you can’t get these cars low enough on the straightaways to see those speeds (like Brett Bodine’s a year ago),” Park said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw something close to it, but it would surprise me to see a track record set.”

Jeff Green posted the fourth-fastest time overall at 175.281 mph, followed by Jason Leffler and Joe Nemechek (174.835), John Andretti (174.778), Mark Martin (174.700), Todd Bodine (174.463) and Ricky Craven (174.408). A total of 25 drivers were on the track Tuesday.

Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League veteran Davey Hamilton, who suffered serious leg injuries in an accident at Texas last month, was a surprise visitor to Gasoline Alley Tuesday.

Testing for the other half of the Winston Cup Series competitors is scheduled for July 24-25 at the 2.5-mile oval.

Bobby Labonte is the defending champion of the Brickyard 400.

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