Hamiltons Top Indy Testing

INDIANAPOLIS - It was a family affair atop the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speed charts July 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as the father-son tandem of Bobby Hamilton and Bobby Hamilton Jr. posted the top laps, respectively.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Bobby Hamilton topped the NEXTEL Cup Series regulars on the final day of testing for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 7 with a lap of 183.905 mph in the No. 04 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge. It was the fastest lap overall over six days of testing the last three weeks at the historic 2.5-mile oval.

Bobby Hamilton Jr. was second fastest today at 182.576 in the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet, which he drives full time in the NEXTEL Cup Series.

"We were actually up doing some chassis stuff for my truck and ended up running good," Bobby Hamilton said. "Obviously, if everything goes right we've got time to paint the car and all. It's an in-house car. We built it ourselves; we bought the chassis from PPI (Motorsports) and then put on our front and rear clips.

Hamilton knows it will be tough to make the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard field despite posting the fastest lap of the month.

"We have a very good truck organization, but I'm smart enough to know that experience is what counts, and running a Cup team week in and week out is huge," he said. "We know we're against all odds coming here. We'll try to come up here and have a good time. We'd like to run good but we don't want to get in the way of the guys running for the Chase. But, we buy our pit passes just like they do."

2002 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Bill Elliott, now on a limited NEXTEL Cup Series schedule, was third at 182.562 in the No. 91 Stanley Tools Dodge while Kyle Busch was fourth at 182.450 in the No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet.

The top four today were faster than the previous fastest lap of the month, 181.963, by Greg Biffle on July 11.

Indiana native Tony Stewart, winner of three of the last four NEXTEL Cup Series races, tested today with a top lap of 178.385 in the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet, good for 15th overall.

Four-time race winner Jeff Gordon also tested, as he continues his fight to earn a spot in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, as he is 120 points out of the top 10 in points. With only seven races remaining before the Chase begins, a successful race at Indianapolis would do much more than just bolster the team's position in the points.

"Everywhere we've tested this year, we've run well, (and) winning a big race like this definitely can help the morale of the team and build some momentum," Gordon said. "Right now we're looking at a stretch of races coming up that we have to run well to get in the top 10, and Indianapolis is one. It's an important race for us already, but it's one that we'd love to win."

Gordon has a shot at making history at the 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard by becoming the first five-time winner of a major motorsports event at Indianapolis. While he wants a piece of history, Gordon said a fifth victory versus the four of Indianapolis 500 winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears, and four-time United States Grand Prix winner Michael Schumacher, cannot be compared.

"Last year we were inspired," Gordon said. "To get number four was a great moment for me and this team. If the media wants to keep pumping it up, that's fine. For me, growing up as a kid and watching the Indy 500, I recognize that there's a difference between the two races. It's not that I wouldn't want to be compared to A.J. (Foyt), (Al) Unser and (Rick) Mears; it's just a different race and different circumstances."

Allstate 400 at the Brickyard activities get underway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, Aug. 5. with Chevy Day at the Brickyard, a family-friendly event sponsored by Chevrolet, from 9 a.m.-noon (local time) in the east lot of the Speedway's Hall of Fame Museum in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield.

Admission is included in the price of admission to the IMS grounds for the day's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard activities, which is $10 per person and free for children ages 5 and younger. Activities will include appearances by Chevrolet-sponsored NASCAR drivers, interactive games, racing simulators, NASCAR race cars and live music.

The first two rounds of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup practice take place at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. (local time) Aug. 5.

Qualifying is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, followed by additional practices at 2:15 and 3:45 p.m. The 12th running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7.

Unofficial Speed Report, July 18-19

Rank No. Driver Speed Total Laps
1 4 Bobby Hamilton 183.905 78
2 32 B. Hamilton Jr. 182.576 73
3 91 Bill Elliott 182.562 136
4 5 Kyle Busch 182.45 132
5 1 M. Truex Jr. 181.668 163
6 8 Earnhardt Jr. 181.494 94
7 6 Mark Martin 180.76 215
8 23 Mike Skinner 180.692 87
9 24 Jeff Gordon 180.303 65
10 40 Sterling Marlin 180.083 160

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