Chevrolet Daytona testing notes

RANDY TOLSMA, ...

RANDY TOLSMA, # 61 TEAM RENSI MOTORSPORTS CHEVY SILVERADO, was nudged by Rick Carelli in yesterday's afternoon testing session, in which NASCAR allowed six trucks to draft on Daytona's 2.5-mile, high-banked circuit for several laps. Tolsma held on without incident, but his Silverado suffered damaged to the left rear lower quarter panel.

TOLSMA: "We had four to five laps under drafting. What we are able to do with the trucks -- unlike the Winston Cup cars -- is make that slingshot pass. We can drop back and catch the draft in the run and make that last second move out and pass somebody. Rick was trying to do that. We are probably not as tuned up in our driving when we're testing early in the year as we are during race weekends, so I think he made a judgment error. I couldn't do anything about it; I was flat to the floor. The Silverado was real stable, whether we were behind, in front, or in the middle, so I was really happy with what we found."

Tolsma's teammate this season, in a second TEAM RENSI MOTORSPORTS CHEVY SILVERADO, is DAVID DONOHUE, son of racing legend Mark Donohue. Donohue tested on Talladega's superspeedway before attacking Daytona's high banks for the first time yesterday. Although Donohue is a rookie to the Craftsman Truck Series, he is by no means a rookie driver. At 34, he's already a Daytona 24-Hour and 24 Hours of Le Mans veteran, winning the GT-2 class at Le Mans in '98, and has logged hundreds of laps in a number of sports-car racing series. He is also experienced on the oval, having competed in NASCAR's Busch Series and CART's Indy Lights.

DONOHUE: ON COMPARING DAYTONA TO TALLADEGA: "Daytona is more challenging. For one thing it's more bumpy. At Talladega the banking begins almost on the straightaway, where here the banking is very abrupt in the corners, especially coming off of Turn Four. You still have it loaded up on the right side and it goes flat on you. You get used to it quickly."

HERE'S THE USUAL QUESTION: HOW DOES THIS RACING COMPARE TO SPORTS-CAR RACING?
"It's apples and oranges; it's completely different, other than there's four tires and a steering wheel. That's about the extent of the similarities. Oh, and an engine driven by gasoline. These trucks may be designed more basically, but they're the most refined racing vehicles in the world. Every tiny little thing that you can't even imagine is adjustable and makes some measurable difference. To me that's the hardest thing to get used to. They will come up with some part that I never heard of before, that if I rotate it three times it will tighten it up in the corner. You never think of those things. A lot of times it is not turning a bolt, or using a dial caliper, it's bending something a little more or letting something flex more than it should or more than it usually does. It's very bizarre. It's the way they're engineered, and that creates parity among the teams. That's why the races are so close."

-Judy Stropus

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Series NASCAR-TRUCK