Stremme Leads Lowes Test

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David Stremme topped the first day of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a lap of 187.000 mph.

Stremme's lap, which came in the evening session, was well over 1 mph faster than Jeremy Mayfield's speed of 185.134 mph.

"The tires are still really hard and there's not a lot of grip. You've got to be really careful," Stremme said. "Other than that, things are going well. We are just taking our time and working through things."

Rookie Paul Menard (184.932 mph) was third with Ward Burton (184.767 mph) and Reed Sorenson (184.319 mph) rounded out the top five.

Robby Gordon's seventh-place speed of 183.717 mph was tops among the Fords.

In the afternoon session, Martin Truex Jr. edged Stremme and Ryan Newman for the fastest lap.

Truex, who has posted an average finish of 9.0 on 1.5-mile speedways in 2007, recorded his fast lap of 180.596 mph on his 14 circuit.

The test was also the first time the drivers have been on the track since both the inside and outside retaining walls were painted yellow in preparation for the May 19 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.

"The yellow wall is really psychedelic. It reminds me of the 1960s," said Kenny Wallace. "You get used to a look for 20 years-I've been racing here since 1989-and now it's different. But it's neat. It adds a lot of color to the place."

The only incident of the day came as the night session came to a close when Denny Hamlin backed his No. 11 Chevrolet into the wall coming out of Turn 1. He was later evaluated and released from the Carolinas HealthCare Infield Care Center.

This week’s test is the fifth of seven NASCAR-scheduled series tests in 2007.

Tuesday’s test runs from 1-9 p.m. (ET), and includes a dinner break from 5-6 p.m.

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