Harvick Fastest in Busch, Hamilton Top Trucker
Persistent showers limited Busch Series drivers and teams to just one hour and 45 minutes of track time while heavy afternoon rain cut the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series test session to just three hours.
Driving Richard Childress¿ No. 21 Chevrolet, Harvick posted a lap of 30.161 seconds, 179.039 mph, on the unofficial watches to top the 14 Busch Series teams. Harvick, a four-time Busch Series starter at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, will be looking to duplicate the effort that saw him claim the pole for the 2001 CARQUEST Auto Parts 300.
Kyle Busch, who turned 18 on May 2 and plans to make his first Busch Series start in the May 24 race, was second fastest in the No. 87 Chevrolet at 178.974 mph with Ron Hornaday third quickest at 178.536 mph in the No. 2 Chevrolet. Matt Kenseth was fourth at 178.341 mph in the No. 17 Ford with defending CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 winner Jeff Green rounding out the top-five in the No. 32 Chevrolet at 178.141.
The testing session was a homecoming of sorts for Green who was reunited with veteran crew chief Harold Holly for the first time since they won the Busch Series title in 2001. Green already had plans to defend his CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 victory in a car owned by Amick Motorsports and prepared by Holly before he was fired Monday from his Richard Childress Racing Winston Cup ride.
It was shortly after 7 p.m. before the 32 truck teams took to the 1.5-mile superspeedway in the first test session for the Hardee¿s 200 and it was immediately evident Hamilton¿s vast Winston Cup experience would pay dividends. Driving his No. 4 Dodge, Hamilton recorded a lap of 31.403 seconds, 171.958 mph, on the unofficial watches in the truck series¿ first official activity at the track.
Another veteran, Ken Schrader was second fastest at 170.875 mph in the No. 52 Chevrolet while young Jon Wood was third at 169.795 in the No. 50 Ford. Brendan Gaughan (169.758) and Rick Crawford (169.412) rounded out the top five.
The yellow flag was never unfurled during the Busch Series portion of the test and only two minor incidents interrupted the truck session. The first came when Bill Lester blew an engine and the other was to remove Tina Gordon¿s stalled truck from the track apron.
With rain limiting track time for both divisions, the remaining schedule now calls for the Busch Series cars and Craftsman Truck Series machines to run alternating sessions on Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. The trucks are then slated to continue testing until 10 p.m. The main grandstand will be open free to the public.
Tickets for all May events at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, including the May 16 Hardee¿s 200 and the May 24 CARQUEST Auto Parts 300, are available by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
The unofficial top-10 speeds:
NASCAR Busch Series
1. Kevin Harvick, 179.039; 2. Kyle Busch, 178.974; 3. Ron Hornaday, 178.536; 4. Matt Kenseth, 178.341; 5. Jeff Green, 178.141; 6. Dave Blaney, 178.118; 7. Tony Raines, 175.393; 8. Damon Lusk, 172.844; 9. Tim Sauter, 172.612; 10. Jeff Fultz, 171.276.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
1. Bobby Hamilton, 171.958; 2. Ken Schrader, 170.875; 3. Jon Wood, 169.795; 4. Brendan Gaughan, 169.758; 5. Rick Crawford, 169.412; 6. Ted Musgrave, 169.380; 7. Kevin Harvick, 169.263; 8. Travis Kvapil, 169.173; 9. Jason Leffler, 169.078; 10. Dennis Setzer, 168.676.