Busch Wraps Up Indy Test

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NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd improved upon their test speeds from July 5 during testing of race setups July 6, putting the wrap on a two-day Allstate 400 at the Brickyard test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Reigning series champion Busch set the fastest lap of the test July 6 at 180.208 mph in the No. 97 Crown Royal Ford. Rudd's fastest lap of the day in the No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford was 178.999, slightly faster than his July 5 top speed of 178.937. The second day's higher speeds came despite more sunshine and higher temperatures and humidity.

The drivers are testing in anticipation of the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 7 at the legendary 2.5-mile oval.

"We've got one car that we put away, and we're pretty happy with it," Rudd said. "We've been working with another car, just to have two good cars. We'll figure out which one is best when we come back. We struggled a little bit today with it, getting it to stay where the speeds stay quick."

Busch and 1997 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Rudd took advantage of the two full days of testing at the Speedway while Busch's Roush Racing teammate, Carl Edwards, tested only July 5. Edwards was fastest Tuesday at 179.165 in the No. 99 AAA Ford. Jimmy Spencer also joined the group July 5 in the No. 50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge, but crashed in Turn 1 in the afternoon, causing heavy rear-end damage to the only car the team brought to Indianapolis.

While Busch said he's antsy to see how his car and tires react in traffic on the Speedway's newly repaved surface, he was content to take advantage of a day at IMS virtually to himself.

"There's pros and cons to (a small test)," Busch said. "It gives us more track time; you don't have to worry about people blowing up motors or getting into accidents. It gives us plenty of track time, really. It's so hot out; it's hard for us to gauge the kind of speeds we'll be able to obtain next month. We're just fine and dandy all by ourselves."

Private testing continues July 11-12 at IMS, when 23 cars are scheduled to turn laps. Drivers schedule to test include current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points leader Greg Biffle, his Roush Racing teammates Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth, Rusty Wallace, and former Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winners Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick.

More of NEXTEL Cup's "heavy hitters" are scheduled to test July 18-19. A total of 17 teams and drivers will turn laps, including four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon, fellow former race winners Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott, and Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Stewart and Gordon are scheduled to test only July 19.

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