DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Jan 27)--- It was a year ago that the Midwest Transit NASCAR Winston Cup Series race team was born. "Yeah, we had one car, one engine and three full-time employees, including myself," says driver Danny Pardus with a big...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Jan 27)--- It was a year ago that the Midwest Transit NASCAR Winston Cup Series race team was born.
"Yeah, we had one car, one engine and three full-time employees, including myself," says driver Danny Pardus with a big chuckle. "We had no equipment and no transporter."
Now 12 months later, or as Pardus describes as "one racing light-year," Midwest Transit Racing is putting together all the right ingredients to make a sincere run for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors.
This young team, with big ideas, grows by equipment and manpower on a daily basis as it rushes to prepare for Speedweeks '99 at Daytona International Speedway. The team, owned by Hal Hicks and Mike Witters, now boasts 12 race-ready Chevrolet Monte Carlos and more than 20 crew members.
The latest addition to the Midwest Transit Racing stable is a thoroughbred Chevy built to run the high banks of Daytona and Talladega.
"It's a brand new piece," said Pardus, a Daytona Beach native. "We've got a new Laughlin chassis with a Hendricks Motorsports engine, and it's all been massaged by or crew chief John McQueen and his crew, We're going to take this car to Talladega and shake it down."
Midwest Transit Racing has booked a two-day test a Talladega Superspeedway January 29-30. Daytona and Talladega have similar configurations. Both utilize the "tri-oval" design. Daytona is 2.5 miles long, while Talladega is 2.66 miles. Daytona's turns are banked at 31 degrees while Talladega has 33 degrees.
"You go a little faster at Talladega," said Pardus, "If we need to run, say a 191 mph lap at Daytona, then we need to go about 193 if 194 mph at Talladega.
Midwest Transit Racing will haul three Monte Carlos form its shop across town to Daytona International Speedway. Pardus will have a Daytona 500 car and a 500 backup. He'll have a third Chevy for the Bud Shootout qualifier, scheduled Sunday, Feb. 7 at the "World Center of Racing." The winner of the Bud Qualifier transfers to the Bud Shootout.
McQueen's crew has been busy reworking the Midwest Transit Superspeedway fleet after Daytona test days on Jan 19-20.
"We found some bugs in the cars and we worked all the things out of the cars that could possibly be wrong with them," said Pardus. "They weren't major changes, just a few little things."
Pardus can tell you -- what a difference a year makes, especially when it's the "racing light-year" variety.
"You know, we've learned a whole lot in the last year," he added. "The cars we have now are twice as good as the car we had last time we attempted Daytona. We've got John McQueen's knowledge of the sport. It's amazing how this team has come together. Hal Hicks and Mike Witters have given us everything we've asked for. We just need to get experience."