Andretti Johnson Fastest At Lowes
September 29, 2004 | 9:50 P.M. EST
The unofficial stopwatches caught Andretti's No. 14 ppc Racing Ford at 181.751 mph, just a tick faster than the lap he recorded to top the Nextel Cup speed chart during Tuesday night's testing session.
"We thought we'd come here and kind of fly under the radar, but obviously that hasn't happened," said Andretti, who has been without a full-time ride this season. "I'm really pleased. We are running one car in qualifying trim and the other in race trim, and they are both really good."
The cars Andretti drove were recently purchased from Robert Yates Racing and veteran Yates crew members Pete Peterson and Frank Good were among those assisting ppc Racing's new crew chief, Dave Charpentier. Andretti and the ppc Racing team are scheduled to make their debut in the UAW-GM Quality 500 Saturday night, Oct. 16, at Lowe's Motor Speedway and full details of the effort, including a sponsor, are expected to be revealed in the next two weeks.
Kyle Petty, driving his familiar No. 45 Dodge, was second fastest among the five Nextel Cup Series teams. Petty's best lap on the unofficial watches was 178.921 mph. Ward Burton was third fastest at 177.474 mph in the No. 0 Chevrolet while Terry Labonte (176.829) and Greg Sacks (175.171) rounded out the top-five.
On the NASCAR Busch Series side of the garage, Johnson showed there is a distinct possibility he could drive the No. 48 SpongeBob SquarePants Chevrolet to victory in the Lowe's presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 on Friday night, Oct. 15.
Johnson's best unofficial lap at 179.850 mph was nearly two miles per hour quicker than the second-fastest car and was considerably faster than the speed he topped the charts with on Tuesday.
Greg Biffle, who tested his Cup car the previous night, was second fastest among the 21 NASCAR Busch Series teams with a lap at 177.971 mph in the No. 60 Ford.
Mike Bliss continued to be among the fastest with a lap of 176.846 mph in the No. 20 Chevrolet while series point leader Martin Truex Jr. was fourth at 176.586 mph.
Joe Nemechek, who shared seat time in his No. 87 with Hendrick Motorsports development driver Boston Reid, rounded out the top-five at 176.534 mph.
There were no spins or accidents and the only caution flag came late in the five-hour session when Robby Benton's Busch Series car dropped oil on the track.
Testing for UAW-GM Quality 500 Week events continues Tuesday evening, Oct. 5, when the stock cars of the American Speed Association take to the track in preparation for the Aaron's 99 on Thursday night, Oct. 14. NASCAR Nextel Cup title contender Mark Martin, a four-time ASA champion, is among those scheduled to participate.
Testing runs from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the main grandstand will be open free of charge. Tickets for all October events at Lowe's Motor Speedway are still available and can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1- 800-455-FANS.
Unofficial testing speeds:
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Showing driver, car number and speed:
1. John Andretti, 14, 181.751; 2. Kyle Petty, 45, 178.921; 3. Ward Burton, 0, 177.474; 4. Terry Labonte, 5, 176.829; 5. Greg Sacks, 13, 175.171.
NASCAR Busch Series Top-10 showing driver, car number and speed:
1. Jimmie Johnson, 48, 179.850; 2. Greg Biffle, 60, 177.971; 3. Mike Bliss, 20, 176.846; 4. Martin Truex Jr., 8, 176.586; 5. Joe Nemechek, 87, 176.534; 6. Casey Mears, 41, 176.384; 7. Kyle Busch, 5, 176.298; 8. Johnny Sauter, 27, 175.833; 9. Jason Keller, 22, 175.376; 10. Todd Bodine, 31, 174.076.