Sauter Fastest In The Draft

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Talladega Superspeedway hosted the first of two days of testing Monday for the Car of Tomorrow, which will make its superspeedway debut at the track next month and Johnny Sauter was the fastest in the drafting session.

Fresh of his career-best NEXTEL Cup finish at Richmond over the weekend, Sauter was able to pace the afternoon drafting session with a lap of 196.165 mph.

Martin Truex Jr. (195.564 mph), David Stremme (194.884 mph), Kasey Kahne (194.864 mph) and Juan Pablo Montoya (194.793 mph) rounded out the top five among the 51 teams on the opening day.

Denny Hamlin led the way in the morning session of single car tsting with a lap of 189.560 mph followed by J.J. Yeley at 189.301 mph.

“Our morning was relatively uneventful," Hamlin said. "We were bottoming out, really throwing a lot of sparks out. So we kind of aborted our very first run. That’s basically all we were going to do here today, to assess what kind of height we were going to have on the car running it here. So we ground off most of the bottom side of the car and went back out there and ran, and our lap time looked very competitive to everyone else."

In the afternoon single car group, Hamlin again was the best with a speed of 188.345 mph with Paul Menard next quickest at 188.156 mph.

Jacque Villeneuve, who will make his stock car debut with Bill Davis racing later this season in anticipation of a Sprint Cup effort in 2008, took his first laps around the mammoth, 2.66-mile track.

"It drives different than any other track I have been on because you can drive wide-open all the way around," said Villeneuve, who was 62nd and last on the morning charts at 160.658 mph.

"You just have to be smooth and be careful not to use too much power so you can roll and get an extra tenth just by driving smoothly."

Villeneuve has gotten some advice on what to expect at Talladega during actual race conditions.

"I've been told that I will be wondering what this bunch of lunatics is doing out there running so close to each other the whole time -- just like kids I suppose, but it should be fun," he laughed. "I am probably going to stay in the back and watch what happens."

Villeneuve was 11th fastest in the drafting session.

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