MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 28, 2005) - As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rolls into Daytona International Speedway during its mid-season swing, Travis Kvapil and the Kodak Racing team hope to capitalize on their return to the famed...
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 28, 2005) - As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rolls into Daytona International Speedway during its mid-season swing, Travis Kvapil and the Kodak Racing team hope to capitalize on their return to the famed superspeedway.
This visit to Daytona will be the first time the Cup Series has visited a track twice this season. That affords the teams the opportunity to make the most of notes acquired during Speedweeks in February.
"As a rookie, it gives me confidence to finally run on a track where we have laps and some notes to base our set-ups on," Kvapil said. "With the new spoiler and tires and all this year, in addition to the new driver, the Kodak team was almost at a disadvantage. They had to start fresh, but we made the best of it."
Kvapil started the Daytona 500 from the 25th position and finished the event 19th. During that race's early laps, Shane Wilson, crew chief for the No. 77 Kodak Racing team, had the Penske-Jasper Racing crew make chassis adjustments to alter the car's handling. In the waning laps, Kvapil felt he had a top-10 car.
"The [No. 77 Kodak Dodge] wasn't where we wanted it to start the event," Kvapil said. "But as they say, it isn't where you start... Shane made some really good calls and the car came around. I ran up front and it felt good. I know I can do it again."
Wilson has been looking forward to the upcoming repeat race. He thinks the second time around will be crucial for the No. 77 team to move forward in the points chase.
"I know we won't be 'Chase' material, but I think we are better than what the points reflect right now," Wilson said. "Travis has come a long way. He has a great attitude and gives great feed back. Heading to the tracks for a second time will be a positive for us. We will have a notebook to work from. Travis will have more seat time. He feels like he won't have to work the track as much to find his line and that can only be a positive."
Wilson also hopes for better qualifying results.
"We need more than a second run at these tracks," Wilson said. "Qualifying needs to improve. It is one area we have hurt ourselves in so we are concentrating a little more on those efforts. It seems like we run well in practice, but we end up with a mid-to-late pack qualifying position. Starting back there, you are asking for trouble."
The Pepsi 400 will be Kvapil's third superspeedway event in a Cup car. Following what he considers to be a successful Talladega weekend, Kvapil said, "There is nowhere to go but forward."
"Talladega doesn't look like a great run in the books, but our car was great. The Penske Racing superspeedway efforts have improved tremendously and we had a great car there. It would suck up in the draft and that is what we need at a superspeedway."
Kvapil qualified ninth for the Talladega Superspeedway event, but dealt with tight handling conditions throughout the day. Two laps shy of the finish Kvapil was caught up in a crash that collected several other competitors when his car pinched against the outside wall with nowhere to go.