NASCAR Set To Test Out West

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LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas Motor Speedway has received 41 entries for NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas.

This test session, which many NASCAR drivers are calling the most important of the season, will take place Jan. 30, 31 and Feb. 1. Each team will be allowed to test for two of the three days.

“The test at Las Vegas really shows us how the (cars) will perform at 1.5-mile tracks,” said Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge. “The 1.5-mile tracks on the circuit are very similar, so the LVMS testing session gives us a good read on how we can expect to perform at those tracks throughout the season.”

In addition to preparing for the March 12 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, there will be many different agendas.

Several drivers including Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray, Michael Waltrip, Scott Riggs and Bobby Labonte will be getting used to working with their new teams. All seven of the rookie of the year candidates including Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Reed Sorenson will take part in the test. Ford drivers will be getting the feel of the new Ford Fusion. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne will be looking to find some speed on an LVMS oval that was not very friendly to them last year.

For reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart and third-year driver Brian Vickers, it will be their first time in a stock car this year. Vickers missed Daytona testing after undergoing surgery on a hernia, while Stewart skipped Daytona to participate in the Chili Bowl Sprint Car event in Oklahoma.

The public is invited to watch the test sessions free of charge each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Here is a tentative list of test dates and drivers:

Jan. 30-31: Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Robby Gordon, Jeff Green, Kevin Harvick, Dale Jarrett, Travis Kvapil, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Elliott Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Ken Schrader, Brent Sherman, Reed Sorenson, David Stremme, Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip and Scott Wimmer.

Jan. 31-Feb. 1: Greg Biffle, Dave Blaney, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield, Casey Mears, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Kyle Petty, Scott Riggs and Brian Vickers.

Jan. 30 and Feb. 1: Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and J.J. Yeley.

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