Daytona Preseason Thunder - Dodge afternoon notes 2008-01-15

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 Daytona Int'l Speedway Preseason Thunder PM Session RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) ON POSTING THE FASTEST LAP IN AFTERNOON DRAFTING SESSION "In drafting it was really good. We had a good push and tow at...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Daytona Int'l Speedway
Preseason Thunder
PM Session

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger)

ON POSTING THE FASTEST LAP IN AFTERNOON DRAFTING SESSION "In drafting it was really good. We had a good push and tow at the same time. That gave us the top speed on the chart. The Alltel Dodge was comfortable. It felt good getting laps on the tire, laps on the car and trying to feel out the rough race track. It was a good day of testing for sure for the Alltel Dodge team."

WAS THIS A TESTAMENT TO THE GUYS BACK AT THE SHOP "Well you have to put yourself in position. Like I said, we have a good tow. I don't think we're the fastest car but I think we'll have a good handling car and that's the most important thing. It's cool temperatures here today. I think when the wind kicks up, the sun picks up, and you get [a lot] more cars out there it is going to make a big difference. We got a good step working in that direction for sure."

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BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger)

ON THE COT "It is different. It's just a different feel for us than what we're used to. Even though we ran the car several times last year, here at Daytona it's a different feel. My analogy of it; it seems like a tighter box. It's a little narrower, a little shorter, it bounces around a little more. You have more rigid areas in it. Things like that.

"I've driven a late model with a 101 inch wheel base and it drives really different than a 105 inch wheel base car. [The COT] feels like a short wheel base, kinda narrow and top heavy. You just get used to it and try and make it work the best you can. Everybody has the same box to work with. You just try and get yours better than the next guys."

ON WORKING WITH NEW CREW CHIEF JEFF Meendering "Jeff came from Hendrick. He worked there for several years and was a car chief. He is a very intense guy, has a lot of knowledge and knows the race car very well. He has raced in the past so all of those are pluses. The only minus is it's going to take some time to gel. I don't think that is going to take long. But I wish we could already be six months into this relationship. He is a hard worker, dedicated and I think he has a great head on his shoulders. It will be part of the chemistry that we need a Petty Enterprises. He knows Robbie Loomis real well and he understand the ins and outs of racing. He has a wealth of knowledge and he backs himself up with good people. He understands that he has to have good people behind him to make it all work."

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE CALIFORNIA AND VEGAS TEST? "I think it is going to be real important. The biggest track that we've had this car on was Atlanta. That was for a couple of days. I think we're going to get a wealth of information at Vegas at Fontana. Our learning curve, for everybody, is going to be a lot. We're not going to drop in there like we did last year at Vegas. All the teams have a lot of information already that will help it. Track time will be big for all of us to try and get better. To try and get our cars to handle good and understand what they do. I think it will be a big swing for us."

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PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 10 Valvoline Dodge Charger)

ON HIS CHANCES OF WINNING THE DAYTONA 500 "I think you should start with the other guys. For me, I'm looking to finish the race and be able to run with these guys more than anything. It is a big learning curve. I'm lucky enough with Gillett Evernham Motorsports to have run all winter and got here a little more ready. For right now [I'm] more focused on finishing the race and running with these guys the whole race."

ON BEING IN THE DRAFT FOR THE FIRST TIME "The first time out it went well. We ran for a long time, the car was good and it started pushing toward the end. I was pretty happy. Then we came in and made a change. I went back out and it got loose on me a couple of time and that's when I realized this could be a very long race. It was a bit different this afternoon. The car is very important and you have to be comfortable in it. This afternoon there was not too many cars, I can't imagine with 43 [cars]. Tomorrow we are going to spend a lot of time working on the drafting car for the race."

ON THE COT "I only tested the other car a few times. For me, I love this car. Testing it over the winter helped me make it smaller and more comfortable. In Phoenix and Homestead it seemed like the car was huge. It was difficult being with the other cars. Running all winter, every week made it smaller. For me I like the [COT]. I have no memory of the other one."

WHAT COULD YOU LEARN MOST FROM LABONTE AND JARRETT? "There is a lot to learn. Every time I go to the track I watch these guys and listen to them. I talked to Mark Martin a lot at Homestead about the cars, the long runs and the qualifying. The way they set it up and stuff like that. So there is so much to learn. It is going to take a while to get it all in. Even today, when we did drafting, I couldn't believe it. I was amazed at how much these cars move in the corners. You learn everyday. You just take it all in. The best thing to do is just sit in the car and run. I was fortunate this winter to [test] quite a bit with the Valvoline team. I feel a little bit more prepared."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robbie Loomis , Mark Martin