Morgan-McClure Motorsports tested the No.4 Kodak MAX Film Chevy at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Friday, December 15th. The test session marked the first time Robby Gordon, the team's new driver, was behind the wheel of the familiar yellow car.
The road crew (with the exception of two) were on hand to familiarize themselves with the California native. They focused on communications, along with finding a comfortable baseline on the car.
Several tests had been planned to help form a mold between driver, crew chief and crew, but they had to be canceled due to weather-related problems. Once the Greenville-Pickens test had been completed, Gordon and crew chief David Ifft debriefed.
The team worked on running race trim during the session. They ran a speed of 19.90, which pleased the Abingdon, Va., based crew. More tests are planned during the first of January, with the most important being the Daytona test on January 11th and 12th.
"I am pleased with the results of our recent test. The car and motor were awesome. I am not accustomed to running a motor with that much horsepower. "David Ifft can definitely teach me some things. I think I can teach him a few things. We will be good together. He knows how to race Winston Cup. He knows what it takes to run 500 miles and finish a race. Ifft is pretty technical. The more time we spend together and the more things we do together will help us build a play book.
"This series is tough. I have learned the hard way. It is not going to be easy, but I think if we work hard together and keep our minds straight, we will get there. We will reach our goals and win races."
"Our test session went really well. I am excited about the prospects of the 2001 season and beyond. The entire team is excited. We feel we have the capabilities for much success. "We still have a mountain to climb. We are competing against the best in the world. This team has to get back on top of the game. I realize that. A main priority is to position ourselves in the points so that we do not have to worry about making races. It is going to be tougher now with only one round of qualifying. "It seems each year the competition gets keener. People gain more money from sponsors. These multi-car teams are able to buy speed now. In the past, we had to make speed. Now it can be bought. Being aware of this, I think we have stepped our program up a notch. "Last season, we never quit fighting. Each week we had to struggle from a 40th place starting position up to 15th or so. So many little things happened that cannot be accounted for. However, all of those little problems really made this team dig deeper. Robby will be able to reap the rewards. "David Ifft is one of the best crew chiefs I have ever had. He has a charisma that rubs off on people. All of the guys at the shop have rallied around him. He is organized. "I believe he will be a good coach for Robby. The two should make a perfect combination. Coming off of the worst season Morgan-McClure has seen, it is a pleasure to see how these changes have improved work habits and attitudes. Confidence has been a problem and all of this has been a booster. "In reality, I think we can run good at Daytona. Las Vegas should be a good race for us. We are going to test at Rockingham. We will have to teach Robby how to take care of tires. We will work on teaching him the patience he needs to finish a 500 mile race. Sometimes slower is faster. This is a concept that has been successful for Morgan-McClure over the years. "There will be only five tire compounds available to Winston Cup next year. The tires will be a harder tire with not as much grip. Characteristics are more like the old bias-ply tires. Drivers that are true drivers will rise to the top. I think you will see Dale Earnhardt have a successful season. We will continue working hard at Morgan-McClure Motorsports. We have something to prove to ourselves. We owe it to Kodak. They have been the best sponsor any race team could ask for. I would like to say we are going to come out of the box and win the Daytona 500. That would be ten years since our first Daytona 500 victory. I cannot promise anything. I really believe we will have a good season, but it is going to be a long road. I am sure it will have some bumps in it. This team is stronger now and they can handle it. "This time of year I feel blessed. I have a large family and I have tasted success. I am able to do what I want to do, race. We all need to look at the positive things in our lives and be thankful for them. I would like to wish everyone a blessed holiday season."