NASCAR Winston Cup Series rookie of the year candidates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Stacy Compton led the second day of open testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday.
Twenty-one NASCAR Winston Cup and 18 NASCAR Busch Series cars took part in Tuesday’s test in preparation for the March 5 CarsDirect.com 400 and March 4 Sam’s Town 300.
Earnhardt Jr., who on Monday drove his father’s famous No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet for the first time, set the pace Tuesday with a fast lap of 167.182 miles per hour. Compton and Ricky Craven (166.984 mph) seconds) posted the next quickest times while three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon (166.700 mph) was also fast. Todd Bodine led all Busch Series drivers completing a lap at 159.300 mph.
"Any time we can test it helps me, and it helps us as a new team," Earnhardt Jr. said. "We get to work more with the new Monte Carlo and figure out the track. We even got some quick lap times, so that helps our confidence as well."
Compton, who has been the fastest Ford, felt positive about his team’s progress in the two-day LVMS test.
"We were almost six-tenths faster today," Compton said. "The team really thrashed last night. We worked on the car and found out what we needed for today. We came this morning and tried every combination we could imagine. The team never slowed down all day. I think the new car is a good package and what NASCAR is trying to achieve is good."
Gordon was happy with his two days of testing, but he’s not satisfied.
"I don’t think the balance is where it needs to be," Gordon said. "We’re lacking on front aerodynamics. Right now, we’re just trying to see what this car needs and wants. This has been a great test to compare. We have Fords, Pontiacs and Chevy Monte Carlos here at the same time."
Also testing for the CarsDirect.com 400 were Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin, Kenny Irwin, Scott Pruett, Robert Pressley, Bobby Hamilton, Chad Little, Jeremy Mayfield, Robby Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Ken Schrader, Wally Dallenbach, Kenny Wallace, Dave Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Fuller and Derrike Cope.
Joining Bodine from the NASCAR Busch Series was Kevin Grubb, Casey Atwood, Jay Sauter, Chad Chaffin, Gus Wasson, Mike Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Tim Fedewa, Mike McLaughlin, Dave Steele, Hermie Sadler, Anthony Lazzaro, Jason Lefler, Bobby Hillin Jr., Jason Jarrett and David Green. Sean Woodside tested for the injured Shane Hall.
The three-day testing session will end on Wednesday.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE:TRK), a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States. SMI owns and operates the following premiere facilities: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sears Point Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway. SMI also provides event food, beverage, and souvenir merchandising services through its Finish Line Events subsidiary, and manufactures and distributes smaller-scale, modified racing cars through its 600 Racing subsidiary.