TOYOTA NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Notes & Quotes Car of Tomorrow Testing -- Bristol Motor Speedway February 28, 2007 -- Day 1 -- AM Session ANDY GRAVES, Senior Manager for TRD (Toyota Racing Development) U.S.A. in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series ...
TOYOTA NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Notes & Quotes Car of Tomorrow Testing -- Bristol Motor Speedway February 28, 2007 -- Day 1 -- AM Session
ANDY GRAVES, Senior Manager for TRD (Toyota Racing Development) U.S.A. in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition:
Your overall impression of this first COT test for Toyota: "We're really just starting to test and the teams are getting a feel for the Car of Tomorrow here in competition. Some of the teams have done a little bit of testing at other venues, but not a lot. Really this is our first full-blown test for our guys and it started off a little slow, but we're making progress."
On the largest advantage of the COT: "Obviously NASCAR has designed the car with safety in mind. I think that is going to be the biggest thing, driver safety. Obviously with the rear wing on the back and the front splitter, understanding the aero-math and understanding where the car needs to run is going to be something big that we can help the teams with. But it's all just going to take some time."
Will the COT help level the playing field for Toyota as a new manufacturer? "I think it does help, you don't have the big, thick notebooks that you are racing against with the bigger organizations with the current car. But at the same time, we have a lot on our plate and a lot to do. We're trying to spread our resources to do everything in the first year and that makes it a little bit harder as well. We're definitely looking forward to the Car of Tomorrow races and it's going to be interesting having the first race here at Bristol."
JEREMY MAYFIELD, No. 36 360 OTC Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing:
On your impression of the COT test: "It's been a good test so far for us because we've learned a lot of what not to do. We haven't really been fast down here yet, but we're not bad. The car is running good."
What do you like about the COT versus the other car? "I like the other car, but it seems like this car is doing alright. I haven't really had to adjust much as a driver. We just have to figure out what it needs and what it likes. We have gotten a sense of what the other car liked because we've been using those for so long. But this one is responding good so hopefully we'll know more about it by the end of the day."
AJ ALLMENDINGER, No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Team Red Bull:
On your first laps around Bristol Motor Speedway: "I think it's pretty cool. I told the guys that I think it's pretty cool to say that I've driven a Nextel Cup car at Daytona, but it's really cool to say I've done it at Bristol. My opinion might change after they throw me out there with 43 guys and I have to race them. I'm having a good time."
On your impression of the COT considering you are a rookie to this style of car to begin with: "My only comment about the Car of Tomorrow is that it has a wing on it and that's what I'm used to so I think it's pretty cool. It's only going to help us because we are obviously 20-25 years of experience behind a lot of these teams and now with this, we're still going to be behind because a lot of these strong teams have the people and the resources to build cars and go testing. But at least I think we'll shorten that gap up a little bit."
DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing:
On your overall impression of the COT: "I like the car we just don't have ours going very good yet. We're still struggling a little bit, but we haven't had much test time with these things so we didn't expect to come here and be blazing fast. We just came here to learn as much as we can."
What challenges has the COT presented to you and your team? "This is a whole different front suspension. This car limits the travel the car can get. You can't sink the car down as much in the corners so you've got to change all your front suspension to deal with that and keep that front splitter off the ground and then still try to keep the car balanced, turning good and all those things you need to do to get the car to go fast. It's just a different way of doing things than we are used to so we just need to learn what it likes."
Do you see any teams or manufacturers having an advantage with the COT? "To start off with here, the teams that have tested the most are going to have the most advantage. The Toyota teams have had a lot to do to get everything ready so I'm sure we haven't tested these cars as much as some of the other teams. Once we get through a couple races, we'll be caught up and have a little better idea of what to do. Maybe we'll even have a better idea when we get done here. Hopefully we learn a lot."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
On your overall impression of the COT: "It's just the car; there are really no tricks to it. The car will probably race better in traffic and I think NASCAR should be really happy right now with what they've seen. There are no issues. Hopefully we can have a good test, we're a little slow right now, but we got a late start. We've got a good direction with our car and I think we will get better this afternoon. About the only thing different are the springs. Driver-wise it's about the same, we just have more room to see out of the windshield."
What do you like about the COT?
"This car is different and I like different. I get tired of looking at the same thing." On the large car turnout for this test session: "There are 43 of us trying to squeeze a couple laps into an hour long session when we are here for the race and in that last practice before the race, there are 43 of us out there trying to get all we can get. It gets real crowded then. But everything is normal and NASCAR has done a great job, they should be commended."
Will the COT help even the playing field for Toyota as a new manufacturer? "We'll see, if you put that out in front of a board of folks that know what goes on in this sport, you would almost have to say yes because there are not as many tricks that you can pull with the body as far as twisting the body and changing the body around. But then I also think there are not as many variables in the suspension set-ups because you have that splitter that will hit the road if you get too goofy with it. I would cautiously say yes it will help us or any new team to compete I believe."
DAVID REUTIMANN, driver of the No. 00 Domino's Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
How are you feeling following your wreck Sunday at California Speedway? "Everything is pretty sore, my entire body, but I have been getting better each day since the wreck. I feel pretty lucky to come through a deal like that with just a bruised foot and some body pain, that's pretty impressive and a credit to the safety in these race cars. Mark (Green) took the car out this morning to get a baseline and then I will take some laps later this afternoon."
-credit: toyota motorsports