Charlotte Test: Toyota teams quotes 2008-09-23

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How is the test going so far for your team? "I think we're better than what we usually are here at this point. We still have a long way to go. We never really have a bunch of speed at...

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How is the test going so far for your team? "I think we're better than what we usually are here at this point. We still have a long way to go. We never really have a bunch of speed at this race track, and I think we've made a little bit of gains in that area."

Will this test help you out for other mile-and-a-half tracks left on the schedule? "Maybe a little bit of Texas, and Kansas as well. You run similar setups everywhere you go, so anything we learn here will be a benefit to most tracks left on the schedule."

Does testing during the day here help your team for a night race at Charlotte? "I think any time you're on the track it helps. Night time testing, for sure, is going to help more because you can take everything exactly for what you see, whereas in the day time, you have to take the conditions into consideration."


DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

How is the test going so far? "The test is going okay. We're trying to find a balance running through a bunch of stuff. We really haven't made a bunch of long runs. We're going through sway bars and shocks and springs and normal stuff trying to get a balance of where we feel like it's workable and go from there. We'll do more of that tonight."

Can you point to anything that has made your team stronger these last few races? "The cars are better and we're making better decisions I think on pit road. The cars are closer when we unload them. If you're closer when you unload, it seems our weekend goes a whole lot better all the way around and that's what we've been doing."


SCOTT SPEED, No. 82 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team

How is the test going so far for you? "So far it's going all right. It's nice to be out there with a lot of the other guys, to kind of see where we range. It's nice to follow some guys to see how this thing handles behind other cars. It's a little bit different. So far, everything is going really well."

Can you explain the difference between this NASCAR car and the ARCA car you've been running? "Honestly, I feel these a lot better. I feel the track better. It's a lot tighter. This thing moves around a lot less. Everything is done right on these things. The steering box, the pedal box -- everything is really precise. It makes it actually easier for me to feel the car and the changes. So far, it's been an easy transition."

How well do you think you have done adapting to stock-car racing? "I think I've learned everything pretty quickly, but the thing I'm missing is experience. You can't learn experience. That's why we started throwing in truck races. As we started becoming successful in the Truck Series, we started looking at Cup Series testing to speed this process along. The more and more time I do before I get in a Cup race is better. Am I ready now? Maybe. Could I have come straight over here to Cup and not looked stupid? Probably. It's one of those things where I have the time to not do that. We're trying to take as much time as possible and really wait for the right circumstance to jump in."

Do you want to be racing in the Cup Series right now? "Honestly, it doesn't matter. It depends on if we're in the right circumstance. So far, we've made really good decisions and Red Bull has made great decisions for me my whole career. I trust that when they think I'm ready that they'll make the right choice."


SCOTT SPEED, No. 82 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team (continued)

Did you ever think you would be racing in NASCAR? "I've said so many times that I would never do this. I've for sure said that. I guess after Formula One, when I started looking at what I wanted to do, I was like, ‘Do I want to go race open-wheels in America? What am I going to win there? Am I going to prove anything to myself? No. I've already accomplished that and more already.' This is something I've never tried. I've never raced on an oval. It's still a very, very big series in America. It's very popular motorsports. And I looked at it like, ‘All right, I don't want to do Formula One right now, and I want to stay with Red Bull. What would be a good challenge? What do I want to do?' I have a lot of drive to do this because I think if you can be successful in Formula One and come over here and do this and be successful in Cup racing, that's another huge accomplishment."

Are you having more fun racing here in the U.S.? "I'm having way more fun over here in America. There are a lot of things that I miss in Europe, for sure. The quality of everything I miss of Europe. The racing here is really fun. You really are racing out there, opposed to qualifying every lap. I get along better with the people, of course. I'm American. I'm surrounded by friends now, opposed to foreigners."


MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

What does testing allow you to do that you can't do during a regular race weekend? "The thing I love about testing is that you have time to make changes that you just don't have time to really make when you're at an event for a race. You can come in off the track and make a change that takes 20 or 30 minutes and go back and evaluate it. When you're at a race, it all happens so fast, you're afraid to take that amount of time to change any one or certain thing. I like that we're able to change some nose weight stuff that we've been wanting to try. We changed some truck arm stuff that we wanted to try. Just some time-consuming items. Then you can go out and see in the same conditions what happens. It just seems like the track changes if you want an hour-and-a-half in between practices during an event. These are real-time changes that we feel like we're learning from."

What types of things are you going to try here that will help you for the rest of the year? "Our agenda is this -- change it and evaluate it. So when we go to Kansas or Texas or wherever we go, the information should be relevant. We're mainly trying to make our toolbox bigger. Realize what items we can put in there and pull out when we need them. That's my agenda. I don't know what the other two are doing. I like to make a change and then make a mental note. At Dover, we did a couple of things up there that I really liked. I wanted to get here and confirm or validate that those changes would work here. That was a good direction to go in. I think we've done that. It's already been beneficial."

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip
Teams Red Bull Racing , Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing