Skinner heads first Daytona test

Mike Skinner and the Morgan-McClure team led both sessions of the first NASCAR Winston Cup test of 2003 at Daytona International Speedway yesterday (Tuesday).

Skinner heads first Daytona test

Speeds were safely in the range seen in opening tests last year, with Skinner making a best lap of 49.495s (181.837mph) in the morning and a 49.243s (182.767) in the afternoon. Others consistently fast were Elliott Sadler for Robert Yates, Rusty Wallace, Michael Waltrip, and rookie Casey Mears for Chip Ganassi.

Tony Stewart, defending Winston Cup champion, was second-fast in the afternoon (49.445s) but missed some part of the first shift, having overslept.

About 0.4s divided the top-10 runners on both sides of the meridian. There being theoretically no critical differences between the cars under the new "common body" configurations, the speed sheets showed a fairly even mix of all four badge IDs.

Tuesday's times seem to predict a Daytona 500 pole speed of about 185mph, as teams will gain speed up to pole day. Jimmie Johnson's pole speed last February was 185.831mph.

The 50 or so teams which intend to compete this season, or at least at Daytona, are divided into two flocks according to 2002 points-same as was done last year. The odd-numbered finishers (1-3-5 etc.) are here through Thursday. The even-numbered standees are due in Tuesday through Thursday of next week.

Mike Skinner Pontiac 49.243s 182.767mph
Tony Stewart Chevrolet 49.445s 182.020mph
Elliott Sadler Ford 49.547s 181.646mph
Michael Waltrip Chevrolet 49.575s 181.433mph
Rusty Wallace Dodge 49.600s 181.452mph
Michael Waltrip Chevrolet 49.6s 181.433mph
Jamie McMurray Dodge 49.613s 181.404
Casey Mears Dodge 49.623s 181.368mph
Casey Mears Dodge 49.649s 181.273mph
Ken Schrader Dodge 49.666s 181.210mph

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