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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Down in Daytona 2008: Trucks Hand Track Over to Cup Cars for 2nd Session

Frontstretch’s Truck Series content is presented by American Trucks

Editor’s Note: Mike Lovecchio will be covering testing news and information in a variety of ways for us this January at Daytona. To read his reports from earlier in the week, be sure to click the links below:

Cup Testing, Day 1
Cup Testing, Day 2
Truck Testing, Day 1
Truck Testing, Day 2

Raindrops came down late Sunday afternoon, signaling the end of Craftsman Truck Series testing at Daytona International Speedway around 2:00 p.m. The rain-shortened session was the series’ third and final day at the track before Speedweeks gets underway next month, as teams prepare for their 250-mile main event to be held on Friday, February 15th.

A number of teams decided to head home after testing on Saturday, but those who stuck around encountered a late start because of a wet track in the morning and then showers early in the afternoon. Prior to the rain, it was accomplished road racer and Rookie of the Year candidate Justin Marks who posted the day’s fastest speed, mastering the historic tri-oval with a lap of 185.723 mph.

Defending series champion Ron Hornaday finished the day second on the charts, with Chad McCumbee coming in third fastest. On the final day of the session, speeds continued to climb in the draft, with Marks actually recording the fastest time of the week in his No. 9 Germain Motorsports Toyota. As for single-car trim, it was fellow “young gun” Erik Darnell who led the pack – his fastest lap came in the AM session on Saturday, turning a speed of 178.547 mph for Roush Fenway Racing.

Only one major incident occurred during the Sunday session; the No. 22 of Philip McGilton smacked the wall hard entering turn 3. The truck sustained heavy damage, but McGilton checked out OK. It was the second major accident of testing, coming on the heels of Friday’s crash between Joey Clanton, Colin Braun and Kyle Busch.

Now, the Truck Series hands off the track to the second group of Sprint Cup drivers Monday. Drivers on hand for that session will include Dale Earnhardt Jr., defending Daytona 500 champion Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart. They’ll benefit from a better forecast – the next chance for rain is on Thursday, January 17th, after the three-day Cup session has concluded.

Top-Three AM Speeds (drafting)

  1. Justin Marks (No. 9) — 178.547 mph
  2. Ron Hornaday (No. 33) — 178.327
  3. Chad McCumbee (No. 8) — 177.792

Top-Three PM Speeds

Cancelled Due To Rain

Truck Series Testing – Cumulative Top-Three Speeds (drafting)

  1. Justin Marks (No. 9) — 178.547 mph
  2. Ron Hornaday (No. 33) — 178.327
  3. Chad McCumbee (No. 8) — 177.792

Single-Truck Runs

  1. Erik Darnell (No. 99) — 178.547 mph
  2. Scott Lynch (No. 29) — 178.327
  3. Mike Skinner (No. 5) — 177.792

Things to watch for in Sprint Cup testing

  • Will speeds continue to climb? Jimmie Johnson was quickest in single-car runs at 184.763 mph and Kyle Busch came in quickest in drafting practice at 188.830. The weather should be significantly cooler this week, giving teams a good shot to best that mark.
  • Will Earnhardt Jr. continue the strong performance for Hendrick Motorsports – even though he’ll be testing without the help of his three teammates?
  • Stewart is actually behind the wheel of the No. 20 at Daytona testing instead of a substitute driver – will that equate to better speed for the his JGR Toyota?

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Editor’s Note: The 2007 season is over, and even the Final Chase exam has come to a close – which means it’s time to give each driver their annual year-end evaluation. For the second straight year, the Frontstretch staff are giving driver reviews for every full-time wheelman on the circuit, providing insight into the seasons of anyone from AJ Allmendinger to JJ Yeley. Be sure to keep coming in every weekday this offseason for even more original content on Frontstretch!