Burton: "Too Early To Tell"

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. - While virtually all of the current present – and several future - NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams began a three-day test Monday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, current points leader Jeff Burton is not looking ahead to the season-ending November 19 Ford 400 at the 1.5-mile speedway.

"It’s far too early to talk about next month, to be honest," said the driver of the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet fielded by Richard Childress Racing. "There are a lot of different ideas of how to test. Some people are testing specifically for this track simply for this race, some people are testing towards a broader view of things."

While teammate Kevin Harvick is among the former group – testing specifically for the Ford 400 – Burton counts himself in the latter category.

"When we go anywhere to test, we do our best to learn as much as we can, not only for this race, but for every race out there," Burton said. "There are so many good teams and so many fast cars, you’ve got to have fast equipment to do it in."

"We brought two different styles of cars, trying to learn something," Burton said. "I think we can make both of the work. Currently, I feel good about our cars. Both of our cars are fast, and both drive pretty well. Overall, I’m happy with our test so far, but it’s too early to talk about next month. A lot’s going to happen before then.
The track will be way more rubbered up with three races running that weekend. A lot is going to happen between now and then."

Monday’s session featured 63 cars fielded by 40 teams. Additional cars and teams are expected to join the test on Tuesday. While the test runs through Wednesday, NASCAR allows each team and driver to test for only two days. In addition, several 2007-legal Toyota Camrys tested, plus five examples of the Car of Tomorrow.

Casey Mears posted the two fastest speeds in Monday’s opening session. Mears had a lap of 31.200 seconds in the No. 42 Texaco/ Haveline Dodge to lead the evening test, with the second-best lap recorded by Mears in his backup car, 31.262.

Second-fastest driver was Martin Truex Jr., 31.319, followed by Robby Gordon, 31.333; Greg Biffle, 31.338; Tony Stewart, 31.341; the Toyota of Jeremy Mayfield, 31.353; Harvick, 31.399; Jeff Gordon, 31.402; and Burton, 31.408.

Carl Edwards had the fastest lap for a Car of Tomorrow, 31.828 seconds.

The top 13 cars in the evening session bettered Reed Sorenson’s lap of 31.459 that led the afternoon practice, recorded in the No. 41 Target Dodge.

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