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Jeff Gordon Fastest as Sprint Cup Testing Concludes
NASCAR put the wraps on the seventh and final Sprint Cup Series open test of 2008, when 51 teams concluded their visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway in preparation for the pivotal fifth race in the Chase, the Oct. 11 Bank of America 500.
As the two-day test session ended Wednesday, a familiar name topped the speed chart, defending Bank of America 500 winner Jeff Gordon.
With a speed of 187.233 mph, Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet turned in the fastest lap of the two-day test during the Wednesday evening session.
Following the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion with the second-fastest lap of the evening was a driver who has yet to begin his Cup career, Scott Speed in the No. 82 Toyota, with a lap of 186.638 mph.
Denny Hamlin was third fastest with a lap of 186.599 mph in the No.
11 Toyota. Rounding out the top five were the Dodges of Juan Pablo Montoya, with a speed of 185.957 mph, and Elliott Sadler with a speed of 185.790 mph.
Wednesday night proved to be the fastest during the open test with the top six speeds besting the top times of the previous three sessions.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. enjoyed a successful test at Charlotte Motor Speedway as his No. 88 Chevrolet ran top-10 speeds in three of the four sessions.
"I think this was a good test for us," said Earnhardt. "We tested last week at Kentucky, and I was really happy. We seemed to be good here, too. We've got a lot of mile-and-a-half tracks coming up in the Chase, so these last two weeks of testing were really important.
"We've got some ground to make up in the points, but we're coming up on some races that I enjoy and feel good about, and Charlotte is one of them. We'll take what we learned here, work on the cars some more, and see what we can throw at them."
There were only two caution periods during the seven hours on track Wednesday. The first occurred in the afternoon session as Aric Almirola scraped the Turn 4 wall in the No. 8 Chevrolet. A second caution-flag unfurled for debris during the evening session.
Tickets for the Oct. 11 Bank of America 500 can be purchased by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or online.
The top-10 official speeds on day two:
1. Jeff Gordon, 24, 187.233; 2. Scott Speed, 82, 186.638; 3. Denny Hamlin, 11B, 186.599; 4. Juan Pablo Montoya, 42, 185.957; 5. Elliott Sadler, 19, 185.790; 6. Carl Edwards, 99, 185.650; 7. Sam Hornish Jr., 77, 185.478; 8. Mike Skinner, 84, 185.433; 9. Jeremy Mayfield, 41, 185.420; 10. Michael McDowell, 00, 185.198.