Rudd Tops Rescheduled Test

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After rain wiped out Monday afternoon’s Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway, 16 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams decided to stick around for the rescheduled session on Thursday.

Ricky Rudd, who was driving his No. 88B Ford, topped the charts on another windy day in Daytona with a lap of 186.405 mph.

Jamie McMurray was second in his 26A Ford with a lap of 185.410 mph, with Kevin Harvick (185.143 mph), Scott Riggs (185.067 mph) and Sterling Marlin (184.904 mph) rounding out the top five.

Marlin's new teammate Regan Smith, who will co-drive the No. 01 US Army Chevrolet with Mark Martin this year, continued to get some more seat time today behind the wheel of Joe Nemechek's No. 13 machine.

"The test is going good,” said Smith, who was sixth fastest with a lap of 183.887 mph. "We are trying a lot of things and I'm trying to learn a lot of things. We've kind of been fighting a little bit of wind here the past couple days, but other than that all the guys with the Ginn Racing are doing awesome.”

Next week Smith will run the No. 39 Ginn Racing Chevrolet in the second week of Cup testing along with Martin, who will drive the No. 01 machine.

Harvick completed the most laps in the session in one car with 38.

Dave Blaney, who ran the most total laps (295) this week, was the fastest Toyota today after posting the ninth fastest lap (183.453 mph) on his 36th and final lap. Dale Jarrett's Wednesday's drafting speed of 186.606 mph was tops for Toyota over the four days.

Blaney, Riggs, Boris Said, Scott Wimmer, Eric McClure, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott and Brian Vickers were the drivers that tested two cars today.

Jeff Green took the honors of top speed on the week after he recorded a lap of 186.722 mph in yesterday's drafting session.

Some of the notable teams that packed up on Wednesday included Hendrick Motorsports (No. 48, 25), Joe Gibbs Racing (No. 20), DEI (No. 8, 1) and Chip Ganassi (No. 41).

Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder continues tomorrow with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

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