JOHNNY BENSON, No. 46 Jack Wyler Toyota Camry, Wyler Racing: How has today's test session progressed for you and your team compared to yesterday? "We're in about the same place as were yesterday. Everything seems to be going good. We're just ...
JOHNNY BENSON, No. 46 Jack Wyler Toyota Camry, Wyler Racing:
How has today's test session progressed for you and your team compared to yesterday? "We're in about the same place as were yesterday. Everything seems to be going good. We're just trying stuff and that's the main thing. This is something new for this team and for myself. We feel good with what we've accomplished here at the test. We're not ahead of any of these other teams by any means. There's still a lot of work to be done, but I think we'll be okay. I hope we get the opportunity to come back and try to qualify for this race and run it. I would be pretty excited about that and I think the guys would also be pretty excited. These guys have done a tremendous amount of work in the past day and a half. They've gotten the car to where it drives really good and I've been really happy with it."
Do you feel like the COT drives more like a Craftsman Truck than a Cup car? "You have to drive it different and a lot of people have asked me how it drives compared to a truck. They are different. This does not drive like a truck at all, like people think it does, but it drives different from the cars. I don't think it's halfway between them; it's still more toward a Cup car than it is a truck. I think all in all, when they get some time built into these cars, they'll be fun to watch and drive."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
How has the test session gone for you? "We're hanging in there. Last night we felt like we had a decent setup and this morning we went in and changed it completely. We documented what we had and we thought that was good, but we wanted to try some different things from past experience. We know a lot of things that have worked at this track with the regular car and we are trying to pass some of that along to COT and see if any of that will work. We actually gained on it quite a bit in the morning session and actually ran our fastest lap right there before the end of the session when it was the hottest. We were encouraged by that so now we're studying what we learned and hopefully by the end of the day we'll understand what the best package is for our NAPA Toyota and work on qualifying for this race."
How many differences have you seen with COT here at Richmond? "There are a lot of differences, but there's always more than one way to skin a cat, as they say. You look at the car with the splitter and you say, 'I'm going to need a big right-front spring to keep that off the ground'. Then the engineers start thinking of ways to use a smaller front spring and still keep it off the ground. That's why I say, there's a lot of things that we need to try. Last night I felt like we had pretty much a conventional set-up and we ran it and we were pleased with it. So we decided to try to engineer our way into something that might be a little more 'outside the box' and see if we can make that work."
What are your thoughts on the COT program and the safety concerns of the foam in the doors? "Anytime something is new, there are always concerns and questions. But we've only had two races with the COT and we saw a couple good crashes where we were able to evaluate how the car held up and how it reacted to being hit. Obviously we're all concerned about the foam, which helps us in case of an accident. But they had us put that too close to the exhaust and anything you put too close to the exhaust is going to get hot enough to smoke. We learned to address that and then at the end of both races, they had side-by-side finishes. I would say that if I was NASCAR, I'd be pretty proud right now of where I'm at with my COT program."
How has your car been in testing here in Richmond? "Our car has been all right. The team has been working really hard and we've definitely found some stuff, now we just need to find some more speed. We've been struggling with the car, mainly tight in the center and loose getting into the corner. The tight in the center is probably the worst and that's what we've been working the hardest on today."
JEREMY MAYFIELD, No. 36 360 OTC Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing:
How has your car been in testing today and how much information sharing is taking place with your teammate? "We've really thrown a whole lot of stuff at this car over the two days of testing. We're hoping that when we throw it all together, maybe we'll end up with something we'll be happy with. Right now we're just not real good. We pretty much have everything on the car that the No. 22 has on their car, but our car is just not acting like their car. They have been really good throughout the test and hopefully we can get a little closer to where they are by the time it's over. We're just struggling to get our car to perform on the track in the same ways that their car is performing."
How has the testing at Richmond gone for you and your team? "It's okay; we're making improvements on the car. Yesterday up until about a half hour left in practice, we were horrible. We got it a little better last night and then made some more gains on it this morning. We still have a lot of work, but we're making small improvements. There's definitely a lot of room to get better."
What are your thoughts about the COT at Richmond compared to Bristol and Martinsville? "Compared to Bristol and Martinsville this place is just slippery. Everybody is just sliding around. Even the good cars, the good ones look better than the rest, but it not like they're stuck to the race track. It's definitely a handful and you're sliding around the race track. Even when it goes faster on the board, it still feels like we're going pretty slow."
What are your thoughts on Richmond International Raceway? "It was my first time here in a NASCAR vehicle when I tested the truck last season. But I really like this place and I have always liked watching races from here on TV. Hopefully we get in the race here and can have some fun with great racing and two or three-wide stuff. I think it's a cool place to race."
DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing:
How has the test session been going for you? "We've been happy with the car the whole time and happy again today. We've been able to learn some stuff because we've been throwing lots of things at it. When the car is really good and you can learn a lot, then that's a plus."
What kind of differences are you seeing here with COT versus Bristol and Martinsville? "We're running different tires everywhere and that is probably the biggest difference. It's not like they bring the same tires to all these race tracks or even the same tire that they brought with the other car last year. I do think this car is slower than the other car would be, but everybody is dealing with the same thing so we just have to get out there and get the car to perform as good as possible."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 omino's Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
Have you made more progress today in testing from where you were yesterday? "We're not really where we need to be yet so I think we're going to throw some more at it and hopefully we'll get closer. We've made some gains in some areas and that seems to affect the car in other areas. We're still trying to find the magic. When you unload and you think you're pretty good, then as the day goes on you realize that you probably weren't that good after all. Everybody gets faster and you stay the same, then you realize that your pretty good times were really not good and that is kind of where we are right now. We've kept making changes to the car yesterday and today, but our changes just don't seem to be affecting the car like we were hoping it would. The car is a little more drivable today than it was yesterday, but it's still not any faster. I would take a little less drivability if it was faster. We're just struggling to find exactly what the car wants to make it happy."
-credit: toyota motorsports