California Speedway opens testing to fans

Trucks Jump Start Season at California Speedway FONTANA, Calif. (January 25, 2005) - A handful of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams got an early start on the 2005 season with a test session at California Speedway on January 24 and 25. The ...

Trucks Jump Start Season at California Speedway

FONTANA, Calif. (January 25, 2005) - A handful of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams got an early start on the 2005 season with a test session at California Speedway on January 24 and 25. The test, which included both single-day and two-day participants, saw approximately half a dozen Toyota and Chevrolet trucks.

Among those testing at the 2-mile, D-shaped oval was racing veteran Dennis Setzer, 2004 American Racing Wheels 200 champion Todd Bodine, 2003 American Racing Wheels 200 pole sitter David Starr, Chad Chaffin, Tulare, Calif., native Matt Crafton and El Cajon, Calif., native Brandon Whitt.

Monday's testing included evening activity under the lights, which simulated the night racing, as the drivers will compete in the American Racing Wheels 200 on Friday, February 25 with a green flag time of 6:15 p.m.

Both engine manufacturers had comparable lap times, with Chevrolet circling the superspeedway in 40.70 seconds (176.90 mph) and Toyota in 41.00 seconds (175.61 mph).

"This has been a very well test," Toyota Racing Team Manager Laerte Zatta said, "even though we have been struggling with the new gear rule that NASCAR will be enforcing." The new gear will limit the maximum RPMs that all engines will be able to produce in competition and will make its first appearance at California Speedway.

"The gear slows down the truck," Zatta said. "We have a lot of work to do. We need to have better engines for our drivers. This test has also allowed new drivers to get used to the new equipment."

Bodine, defending race winner of last year's 200-mile event, took his Fiddle Back Racing team's new Toyota Tundra on-track. "We struggled most of the day," he said. "By three, we were making some gains and we ran at night to simulate race conditions."

Another important aspect of the test at California Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams was a new tire, which is softer than the tire used here in 2004. "The tire makes all the difference, and the new tire definitely makes an impact."

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tests at California Speedway on February 2-3 and fans are invited free of charge. Guests can watch more than 35 cars prime their machines from the infield above Pit Road on the Terrace Suite rooftops. Tickets for the Auto Club 500 race weekend will be on sale. - Auto Club 500 -

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , David Starr , Dennis Setzer , Matt Crafton , Chad Chaffin , Brandon Whitt
Teams Toyota Racing