Newman Fastest in Busch Series Testing
Newman, who has won four consecutive NASCAR Busch Series races, established the No. 39 Alltel Dodge as the car to beat in the only remaining nighttime race on the Busch Series schedule. He was caught on the unofficial stopwatches with a best lap of 28.903 seconds for an average speed of 186.832 mph around the 1.5-mile track.
"The track's fine," Newman said. "I like how they did Turns 1 and 2 as far as grinding the bottom so it's equal grip which is like the way it used to be. They just didn't have a lot of rubber on it before last week's test and that was probably a lot of the cause for guys getting out of control.
"You are seeing a track that's really, really fast and there's nothing wrong with that," Newman concluded.
Kyle Busch was second fastest at 186.367 mph but his best lap came just before he backed the No. 57 Lowe's Chevrolet into the Turn 4 wall.
"It bottomed out going into three and shot up the race track," Busch said after driving the car back to the garage area. "According to the telemetry, it ran a 28.97 on the first lap and the second lap was going to be better. It got through Turns 1 and 2 really good but it bottomed out hard in three. I chased it up the track, but once it was up out of the groove it was gone. The guys are going to have to rebuild the race car but we'll be good when we come back for the race."
Third quickest was NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point leader Jimmie Johnson at 186.001 mph in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet.
"There are some other good cars here, so it's been good to see where we stack up," Johnson said. "We were really, really happy last night when the sun went down, and today we came back with the same package. It's been a little looser and it is a little bit off the 57 (Busch) and the 39 (Newman), but we think we are in good shape."
Like Newman, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title contender Matt Kenseth opted to participate in only the final day of the two-day session and was quickly up to speed in the No. 17 Waste Management Ford. He was fourth fastest at 185.599 mph.
"The track's definitely trickier than the old Charlotte," Kenseth said. "There are some spots on the track where it's hard really to feel the car but it seems OK. It's really smooth and there's a lot of grip on the bottom. I've just basically been running on the bottom. I haven't really tried to move around much but the race should be better then last time."
Adrian Fernandez, who crashed hard on Tuesday, rebounded in a second No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet and posted the fifth-fastest lap at 184.036 mph.
"I'm just trying to be careful, taking it one step at a time," the former Indy Car racer said about his first visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In addition to Busch's wreck, Brent Sherman and Robby Gordon also hit the wall. Sherman slapped the Turn 2 SAFER barrier early in the session but was able to return later in the same car.
Gordon smacked the outside wall just after 5 p.m. He drove back to the garage but he was finished for the evening.
"I got up high and all of sudden it just took off," Gordon said. Wednesday's session concluded testing for all UAW-GM Quality 500 Week events, including round five of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Action begins with the Mopar Sprint Car Nationals at The Dirt Track on Wednesday night, Oct. 12, and concludes with the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 15.
Good seats are still available for all events and can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online here.
The top-10 unofficial speeds:
Showing driver, car number and speed:
1. Ryan Newman, 39, 186.832
2. Kyle Busch, 57, 186.367
3. Jimmie Johnson, 48, 186.001
4. Matt Kenseth, 17, 185.599
5. Adrian Fernandez, 5, 184.036
6. Brent Sherman, 10, 182.654
7. Jason Keller, 35, 181.928
8. Robby Gordon, 55, 180.234
9. Kertus Davis, 0, 180.216
10. Aaron Fike, 43, 180.174