Sadler Tops At Vegas
January 29, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Elliott Sadler was the fastest Monday in chilly conditions at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, turning a lap of 169.120 mph. All speeds were unofficial as they were provided by the teams. Sadler’s speed, set in qualifying trim, was well off Dale Jarrett’s pole-winning speed of 172.106 mph last season.
Defending race champion Jeff Gordon, who clocked in at 167.963, and Jimmie Johnson, who went 167.183, also recorded fast laps.
“After last year’s victory, (Las Vegas) is high on my list,” Gordon said. “I’d always liked the track. They’ve done such a great job. It’s smooth, the transitions are nice and it offers great racing. It’s a first-class facility.”
Gordon’s victory last year was the first of his championship season and earned him the Winston No Bull 5 million-dollar bonus.
“I just never really ran that well here until last year,” Gordon said. “That definitely boosted my confidence for this race. It’s a good downforce track, so we try a lot of things with the shocks and springs and see where we made improvements over the winter and see if we have to make more before we get back here.”
Other drivers who tested Monday were Matt Kenseth (166.924), Derrike Cope (165.037), Kevin Harvick (164.634), Robby Gordon (164.584), Kurt Busch (164.384), Jeff Burton (164.384), Mark Martin (164.134), Jeremy Mayfield (164.034) and Dale Jarrett (162.651).
Ryan Newman did not test as scheduled, and Brett Bodine’s team did not arrive Monday. Busch Series drivers Jeff Green, Johnny Sauter and Chad Little also tested Monday, with Green going fastest at 162.651.
Twenty-seven drivers are scheduled to test Tuesday, with Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte among those joining the 12 who tested Monday. The weather forecast doesn’t look good, however, with rain expected most of the day.