Garage Chatter: Preseason testing, round one

Garage Chatter: Preseason testing, round one

Dodge introduces 2005 Charger: Dodge Motorsports unveiled the new 2005 Charger Tuesday morning at Daytona International Speedway. "The Charger name has charisma," said John Fernandez, Director of Dodge Motorsports. "It takes you back to the...

Dodge introduces 2005 Charger: Dodge Motorsports unveiled the new 2005 Charger Tuesday morning at Daytona International Speedway.

"The Charger name has charisma," said John Fernandez, Director of Dodge Motorsports. "It takes you back to the early days of NASCAR, and we're excited about it. Being in a Dodge Charger is a little bit different than being in a Dodge Intrepid."

Dodge presentation: Richard Petty, Ryan Newman, Travis Kvapil, Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray and Jeremy Mayfield.
Photo by Motorsport.com.
Dodge drivers Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, Travis Kvapil. Kyle Petty and Jeremy Mayfield are testing during the first session for Nextel Cup teams.

Roush Racing announces No. 99 Cup team sponsor: Roush Racing and the No. 99 Ford team of Carl Edwards announced that Office Depot has signed on as a primary sponsor for nine events in the 2005 season.

Champion ready to defend title: Kurt Busch is in Daytona testing the No. 97 Ford and ready to defend his 2004 Nextel Cup series championship.

"Great to be back in the seat," said Busch. "It seems like I was in Miami just last week hoisting the Nextel Cup.

"It's been a wonderful off season for me. This is a good month for us to get caught up at the shop. Three days here and four days out West testing that should get us in good shape for the Budweiser Shootout."

Busch realizes he has the momentum heading into the 2005 season, but knows he cannot rest on his laurels if he wants a shot at back-to-back titles.

Gordon ready to be back on the track: Gordon is ready to mount the charge for this fifth championship starting with testing the No. 24 Chevy at Daytona International Speedway.

"We were missing something to that drive for five last year," said Gordon. "See. It's the drive for five in '05 this year.

"What I have done, and what my team has always done well is focus on our own program.as long as we can do that I think we have a shot at it no matter how well anyone else is doing."

Gordon is off to a positive start. He posted the fastest test time in the Tuesday morning session with a lap of 185.265 mph.

Fans zone behind the garage.
Photo by Motorsport.com.
Gentrified infield confuses, amuses: When fans gather in Daytona for Speedweeks 2005 they will be greeted with a new stylized Daytona infield. They have redesigned the garage area to include an area called "the Fan zone" located between the Cup and Busch garages.

The new garage stalls are fitted with windows that face the "fan zone" so patrons can view the teams working on the cars, as well as a glimpse at victory lane and the technical inspection area.

The new infrastructure has dramatically changed the complexion of the infield, as old markers are gone, and fresh landscaping has classed up the whole joint.

"I'm still lost," said Jeff Gordon. "It's definitely a big change when you've been coming here for a long time. This is my 12th season in the Cup series. You get to where you work your way into these tracks and you have an area where you like to park and you know where your truck is and where your team is and everything.

"Today, when I came in, I didn't even know if my team was here. I didn't see my car, and I was on the wrong side of the garage."

Part of the gentrified infield includes a bistro for fans and a seating area directly outside the media center, there is also a fan platform above the frontstretch garages for fans to perch upon and watch team activities without having to possess the coveted 'garage pass'.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jeremy Mayfield , Kyle Petty , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray , John Fernandez , Richard Petty , Carl Edwards , Travis Kvapil