ANDY GRAVES, Senior Manager for TRD (Toyota Racing Development) U.S.A. in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition: How has the TRD / MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) project car progressed en route to this test session? "The TRD project car with MWR ...
ANDY GRAVES, Senior Manager for TRD (Toyota Racing Development) U.S.A. in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition:
How has the TRD / MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) project car progressed en route to this test session? "The TRD project car with MWR started six weeks ago and ended just last week. Basically we took the car that Jarrett ran at Fontana and changed the chassis and the body. We worked in the wind tunnel with those guys, took it to a shaker rig and then to a couple track tests at Nashville. We just worked around some of the processes such as building the car in order to give them a different perspective on things. Then last week we turned the car back over to MWR because they did most of the work in conjunction with TRD and they chose to bring the car to this test with the 44 team. I think they've been able to take some things away from it that will help their whole program and also Bill Davis Racing and Team Red Bull have had access to all the information. I think all the teams will be able to take some pieces away from the project to benefit their own teams."
What type of feedback have you received from the drivers who have driven the project car? "I think all the MWR cars are battling somewhat of an under-steer condition and this car is battling that as well. It's a very predictable car, it's a very stable car and it's been running about a quarter-second faster than the other 44 car throughout most of the test. Like everything else, the competition is so hard in the Cup series that you're not going to build something that is a second faster."
How has the progress of all the Toyota teams been at this test session? "All of our teams have made a lot of progress since the beginning of the year and like most NASCAR open tests this season, from the first day to the second day -- we've made huge gains. The difference is having a notebook -- we have to look at things and gain from things we are trying out on the race track. Time is the biggest element that we're missing, but we're really proud of all of our teams. We just have to keep making progress each and everyday."
JEREMY MAYFIELD, No. 36 360 OTC Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing:
You posted fastest time of this session, what have you learned today in the test? "We've been fast all day today and been pretty much on top of the board all afternoon which is a great feeling. This has been a good test for us because we've really found a lot of things that work. Usually you come to these tests and find a lot of things that don't work, but now we're starting to find some things that will work. We're pretty excited about that. It really gives us a lot of optimism even heading to Darlington this week. Knowing that we learned some stuff will really keep us pumped for this weekend and coming back to Charlotte. This is the kind of test we needed -- one where we are competitive all day. That was pretty much qualifying trim for us and I think as it gets dark, more guys will run qualifying laps, but those were some real strong laps."
How has the test gone for your team? "We're doing okay. We've definitely made a lot of gains -- we didn't start off where we wanted to yesterday. There's still plenty of room for improvement for sure. I'm pretty happy with our car in the long runs, actually in the middle of the runs. Right at the start of the run we are pretty loose and then we get tight at the end of the run. All in all, I think it's been a good test. We just need to keep working on it, there's room for improvement across the board with chassis, handling, engines and the whole package. We just need to keep working at it."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Domino's Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
What did you think of the TRD / MWR project car when you drove it? "It's okay, it definitely had some promise. They've been working through their test plan, but overall I thought it drove reasonably well and it's a step in the right direction. It's not the total answer to some of what we have going on and what we've got to fix. It's going a long way to get things moving in that direction."
How has your car performed in the test today? "We're just making changes, all those typical testing changes until you find something that the car likes for a couple laps. Some cars will be fast for a couple laps and then fall off quite a bit and I've seen a lot of guys doing that today too. I felt like I got more consistent today and hopefully ran some laps that we can repeat when we come back. We've been totally focused on race runs throughout this test, but tonight we will switch over to qualifying runs and see how things stack up."
-credit: toyota motorsports