Day 1, Session 2: MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing: How do you feel the test has gone for the entire MWR team today? "We've been real fortunate because we've been to the straight-line test a couple times and ...
Day 1, Session 2:
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
How do you feel the test has gone for the entire MWR team today? "We've been real fortunate because we've been to the straight-line test a couple times and we've been to the wind tunnel, the pull-down rigs and the seven-post rigs. It's beginning to make a lot of sense to me because we can show up and we've laid all the information out. We make changes that are supposed to help and they do -- that is a good feeling. It's good to know that our practice and our preparation are paying dividends when we get to the track. There was a time when that wasn't necessarily the case -- we were trying to build cars, test cars and understand cars. I see the process really getting narrowed down now to where we can trust it. We have one car that's faster than the other cars so that's a good sign -- now we just need to figure out why so we can build more like it. But I'm happy with how we've done today, it's been a good test for us and I'm looking forward to getting after it again tomorrow."
What were you able to gain from this test to prepare for the race? "This test was important to me -- I wanted to be here and we had to change a bunch of things around in my schedule in order to make that happen. A lot of times when you test at a track like this you get your test driver to take it out because there is a lot of grunt work. But when we start drafting with the COT, I need to understand how the shorter nose will work. I need to know how far I can push it and how close I can get up behind somebody -- what the car will do when I do all those things. Everybody was here to learn and I learned a lot. We are going to go to Daytona and tire test. Our team has done a great job at being prepared for the Talladega race and I'm really looking forward to it based on what we've learned at this test session."
What differences did you see drafting with the COT versus the other car? "I don't really see much of a difference in drafting with the COT versus the other car. People can argue it all they want, but I don't see much difference. I've had success in the other car and I know how to draft in it. It seems to me that the biggest difference will be more passing because you fall back on a guy and you can really come back on him. With the other car you really had to time it perfect to be able to make those types of moves. With this car it seems like you can play the game of lying off a guy and getting that big run."
JACQUES VILLENUEVE, Bill Davis Racing:
What did you think of your first drafting experience? "It was great fun and really enjoyable. The car is great to drive and you can see that every driver has their own specialty when they are in the draft. I was trying to learn what to do and how to react to various drivers in the draft. When we were side-by-side with another car -- that was challenging to learn what to do because of the ways the air reacts on the car."
What was the main challenge you faced in learning to draft? "We mainly need to work on the communication when I am in the draft. There were a few confusing moments when I was out in the pack because there is a lot of lingo used that I am perhaps not as familiar with. But I really enjoyed getting out there today -- it was a lot of fun."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Burger King Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
How has the test session been for you today and how much difference do you see with the COT in the draft? "Our test has gone okay today. It really seems like we work on the same things that we would work on the other cars at a speedway -- air boxes, cowels and other things to get faster. It drives like the NASCAR Trucks in small ways, but not too much. They don't suck up like a truck does and it really doesn't feel like that much of a difference from the other car. Of course, I only have one Cup race that I have run here so maybe I just can't tell if there is a big difference."
How has your car performed in the test? "The car drives fine, but I really only went out in the single car runs today. I haven't been in the draft pack yet and I don't know that I will even get in the pack tomorrow -- I may have to wait until race weekend. We're trying to work on the little things that we can work on in order to gain maybe a hundredth or a thousandth of a second. With the COT, there is really not much that you can work on and adjust at these tracks."
How has the heat in the race cars affected you today? "It's hot in those cars and I don't know what it is -- I don't even have the air conditioning in my car right now so I guess I am trying to 'man-up' out there. But it is just hot in these cars for whatever reason -- when I take my helmet off, I could burn my hand on the helmet. Maybe it's the way these COT cars have to be built or the fact that at these speeds there is not as much air flow in there, but it's hot."
-credit: toyota motorspots