Ford Daytona test, day two

Ford drivers completed their second day of testing for next month's Daytona 500 with Robert Pressley posting the fastest time of the day. Pressley's time of 48.981 (183.745 mph) came in the afternoon session during a three-car drafting ...

Ford drivers completed their second day of testing for next month's Daytona 500 with Robert Pressley posting the fastest time of the day. Pressley's time of 48.981 (183.745 mph) came in the afternoon session during a three-car drafting session with Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd. Prior to that, Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and Ricky Craven had all been near the top of the timing sheet. Teams will have one final session on Wednesday to make up time that was lost Monday due to rain.

RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus
Craven posted a time of 49.584 (181.510 mph) in the afternoon session.
"We made some big gains today. What's really exciting is that this is the first time I've had a chance to work with some of the engineers in a couple of years. What you saw today was just a great display of teamwork -- some ideas that have come out of the wind tunnel, some ideas that have come out of our shop and the guys just implementing them into our test. When you can bring that to a test and see results, that's fun. I've been here where you don't make gains and it's painful, but today, man, we had a great day."

WHAT'S IT LIKE TESTING WITH ALL OF THE HIGH-TECH EQUIPMENT AT PPI?
"I really appreciate what the 50 team gave me the last couple of years -- it kept me going -- but it's 180 degrees. There's no comparison between how we tested the last few years and how we're testing today. The resources that we have with this team in terms of equipment and tools, I believe, are second to none. The real bonus for me, though, is that we have people to run that equipment. It's not just a driver-crew chief dialogue, it's literally six or eight guys participating and everybody's got some input, including Cal. I mean, the whole deal is refreshing because that's how I interpreted things being."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus
Martin celebrated his 42nd birthday today by posting one of the fastest qualifying speeds on the day. He ended up seventh in the afternoon session with a time of 49.753 seconds (180.894 mph). "We've had a pretty good test. We've got some really good engines this time for restrictor-plate racing. All of the Roush cars are pretty close, but we'll find out more when everybody gets their stuff all laid down and get all the GM and Dodges running and then come back with their best stuff. But we think it's been pretty good. I'm pretty pleased."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus
Pressley had the fastest time in the afternoon at 48.981 seconds (183.745 mph) while drafting with Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd.
"The best thing was we were able to get in there with Dale and Ricky and just see what we had with this new package. Our car has been good, but we don't know who might be holding back here. The wind was blowing so bad that you couldn't really do any qualifying, so we just decided to change everything over and go into race setup. We went over and asked Todd Parrott if we could jump out there with 'em and he said, 'Yeah, go ahead.'"

WHAT DID YOU LEARN, DID YOU HAVE TO LIFT AT ALL IN THE TURNS?
"We didn't really have to. Our car is driving good, which it should drive good at the speeds we're running, but the thing we liked was that this was the first time we were able to draft at Daytona and Talladega with data on the car, so now we can go back and look at it which is going to be a big, big help."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- Rudd finished third on the speed chart at 49.008 seconds (183.643 mph).
"We changed a lot of things and it seemed like we just hovered around the same speeds. We worked some on qualifying time and then we also worked heavily on race setup with a lot of drafting. I think we've learned some things. I wouldn't say we've learned some things to go faster, but we've learned some things."

DID THE WIND CAUSE PROBLEMS TODAY?
"It can get frustrating because you can make changes and anytime you have wind here at Daytona it makes things unpredictable. A little gust of wind or five-knot change in wind situation will make a tenth or two difference on your stopwatch and you're looking for hundreths on a stopwatch. All of a sudden a gust of wind gets up and you're not sure if the change worked or not. From that side of it, it's pretty typical down at Daytona but you'd prefer not to have the wind."

WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN NOW AND SPEEDWEEKS?
"This is pretty much it for speedway testing. I guess we've got a couple hours tomorrow to finish up because of the rain delay the first day, but this is pretty much it. We'll re-evaluate and find out whether or not we need to burn up a test or not at Talladega depending on how well we run tomorrow."

COULD YOU TELL MUCH IN THE DRAFT?
"You can definitely tell that three cars runs a lot faster than two cars -- we learned that today. You probably run about a half-second quicker when you've got three running together, but that's what we're trying to do. We'd like to get four or five of them out there and run like that. Three works pretty good for making adjustments -- you're running a pretty decent speed. I think probably four or five cars would run even quicker, but we're running quick enough that we can make our adjustments and re-baseline it again. It's kind of nice if you can stick with the same group of cars."

HOW COMFORTABLE DO THE CARS FEEL WITH THIS RULES PACKAGE?
"With the speeds we're running and the downforce these cars make, with these roof and deck spoilers, these are by far the most comfortable cars we've ever driven at Daytona. That translates directly into excitement because everybody feels good. All of a sudden, a guy says, 'I think I can go down on the flat in the tri-oval' or something like that so that's the unfortunate side effect."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Rusty Wallace , Robert Pressley , Ricky Craven , Mark Martin