TOYOTA NASCAR Nationwide Series Test
Daytona International Speedway
January 19, 2008
MIKE HILLMAN, SR., General Manager, Germain Racing
What steps did the team have to take in the off-season to include a full-time Nationwide Series car? "Personnel-wise, I think we added about 20 people, to help out both the Nationwide Series program and Craftsman Truck Series program. We were able to get Bruce Cook (crew chief) on board as part of this program, and that shortened the learning curve quite a bit. We just need to learn as much as we can while we're here at the test, and put ourselves in a good spot when the season starts."
Does it help to have worked with Toyota in the Truck Series before moving into the Nationwide Series? "I think that will help a lot. Here at Daytona, it's totally different because of the restricted engine. We're really looking forward to getting to the Las Vegas test in a couple of weeks to see where we stack up."
As the team's General Manager, what were your goals for this test? "My goals were to make sure the team worked really well together. I wanted to make sure Mike (Wallace) and Bruce were communicating well together. I think they've done a great job. Bruce had a big list of things that we've been going through. Hopefully tomorrow we can go out there in the draft and have some fun."
JASON RATCLIFF, Crew Chief, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Are you happy with the Toyota Camry after two days of testing at Daytona? "The cars seem to be fast. We've just been working on getting them to suck up in the draft. That's what we've been primarily been working on for two days. We didn't work on qualifying stuff a lot, but we were able to find some things that made the car faster in single-car runs. We still need to be a little better, but we're better than we were when we got here."
Do you change your style working with different drivers, or do you rely on the driver to adapt to you? "I think it goes both ways. I think the drivers adapt a little bit to the race team, and different drivers want different things in terms of setups. I think that as the season goes, the better we are at adapting from driver to driver, week to week. It will take a little while to find out exactly what each driver wants. Thankfully for us, we're working with two very good drivers. We're looking forward to it. We're going to have a good year."
How has it been working with Toyota thus far? "It's a lot different than we're used to. The TRD (Toyota Racing Development) guys come around and are very helpful. They provide us with a lot of good information. To this point, it's been all good, and I'm sure it will continue to get better. As we go, they will get a better idea of what we need to get the race car to go faster. Hopefully, it will go full circle, and we'll be able to provide them with some things to make all the Toyota teams go faster."
-credit: toyota motorsports