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NASCAR: Skinner Records Fastest Speed as Night Testing Opens at Daytona

9 June 1998

Mike Skinner
Two-time Daytona polesitter Mike Skinner posted the fastest time of 12 NASCAR Winston Cup stock car teams participating in a special night testing session Monday at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the inaugural nighttime running of the Pepsi 400 on July 4.

Skinner, who won the pole for the 1997 Daytona 500 and 1997 Pepsi 400, was clocked at 47.420 seconds, an average speed of 189.873 mph in the No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet.

For Daytona Beach resident Mark Martin, racing under the lights at Daytona is going to be a spectacular experience. "I didn't expect to ever race under the lights at Daytona," said Martin. "To start with, I didn't think that it could be done. I would much rather figure out how to make a race car go 200 mph than figure out how to light Daytona. To see the track lit was exciting, absolutely spectacular.

"I expect this track to be at night what it is like in February during the Daytona 500 during the day, rather than like it has been like during the day in July. The testing that we are doing over the next three days is going to be a good test of the track and air temperatures, and it will also help us to check on the lighting to make sure everything is working perfectly.

"I think the feeling that you get at night is more exciting, it's the whole atmosphere. The light pops off of the cars, everything looks fast, and the temperatures are cooler. It reminds me of when I went to high school football games, it was always really exciting. When the sparks start flying on the Fourth of July, it's going to be real exciting for the fans."

The test continues today (Tuesday) from 3:30-10:30 p.m. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand is open daily at no charge with access through the lobby of DAYTONA USA, "The Ultimate Motorsports Attraction." Guided Speedway Tours are also available from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a nominal fee.

                   	NASCAR WINSTON CUP TEST SPEEDS -- June 8*
31   Mike Skinner		189.873	28   Loy Allen         187.110
98   Rich Bickle		188.679	40   Sterling Marlin   186.335
 6   Mark Martin		188.619	 7   Geoff Bodine      184.805
96   Hut Stricklin		187.651	35   Todd Bodine       181.818
 2   Rusty Wallace		187.500	15   Blaise Alexander  181.452
89   Dennis Setzer		187.262	07   Dan Pardus        179.641
* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.
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