Daytona Test II: Dodge Wednesday notes

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "My teammates are running pretty good, and we're still struggling a little bit, but we've just got to keep working. You sort through all your stuff, go back and analyze all your data and you...

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"My teammates are running pretty good, and we're still struggling a little bit, but we've just got to keep working. You sort through all your stuff, go back and analyze all your data and you come back down here in February and race. That's what we're trying to do, throw everything we can at the race car and see what it likes and what it doesn't like and then try to make the best evaluations we can to come back down here. I'm very pleased with the way things have gone so far. Ray (Evernham) and all the guys have worked hard. They've put in a really good effort to this point. Ray having a year under his belt as a car owner should really help him this year. I just want to run good and be competitive."

SAMMY JOHNS (Crew chief No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We're doing all we can do testing what we've got. They ran faster down here last week, so we've still got to pick up some. We're not playing games. We're just testing what we need to test. We're not playing any games. I think we can get some more. It's just going to take some working on it and tuning on it. We're pretty close to being there right now. The whole race team is excited. Everybody has been working pretty hard at Evernham Motorsports. The whole deal is exciting right now.

"It just goes to show we're one team racing three cars. We're not separated. We share our information. There's no secrets when it comes to bodies, aero numbers, anything. As close as we're running together goes to show it. The 7 car is running an Evernham engine, and we're sharing information with 'em.

"We'll probably do a little drafting tomorrow with one of our cars. A lot depends on how you test. If you're junk testing, there's a lot to be done between now and the 500. If you're pretty good, there's still a lot of work. Nobody here is showing everything they've got. Everybody is going to go home and work some more. We're trying to be careful this year and not put all our focus in the Daytona 500 and think about Rockingham and Vegas and Atlanta. We'll test for three of the first four races with Jeremy.

"The other manufacturers are all good as well. I don't try to think about all the different rules and who's getting what. I just try to worry about our stuff. I don't think we're going to steamroll anybody. It's too competitive a sport."

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Mayfield led the afternoon test session on Wednesday with a lap of 183.221 mph.

"I've never seen a group of guys working so hard in my life. You walk in that shop and sparks are flying. Sammy told me the other night that he was going to knock off early. I asked him what time and he said about 7:30. He worked Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Every day I was at the shop he was working. A lot of hard work went into these cars.

"I think Sammy and I have got to know each other pretty good. I feel like these guys welcomed me to their team with opened arms. I feel like we've run several races together already. Yesterday was a little weird for me when we first went out. We didn't know what to expect, but now everything is flowing. I've been down here before and thought everything was good, but I felt like that before we got here. This is the most prepared team I've ever been with down here testing for the Daytona 500. I think a lot of that goes to the hard work and effort they put into it. Off the truck, everything is sitting there ready to go. That's a good feeling. Knowing you're here fine tuning, making sure everything is right, instead of coming down here testing and chasing it.

"The cars have been driving real good. It's a different situation for me because we're pulling from so many resources. Things just seem to flow and work. We've got the Rockingham and Vegas cars done, and the Atlanta car is just about done. That's pretty cool. Most guys right now are worrying about the Daytona 500. It's a good feeling. It's a confidence booster for me and the whole race team."

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 7 Sirius Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Atwood was second fastest in the afternoon test session at 183.091 mph.

"All three cars are really fast. I'm pretty excited about it. It's my first test with these guys, and to be that fast is real exciting. We're just testing one car. It got thrown together so fast, we couldn't get two ready to bring down here. Luckily, the one we brought is pretty good. I don't know which car it's going to be, but I'm going to be in a 19 car for the Budweiser Shootout. That'll give me some extra practice and you get to race in the draft. That will give me more time with the new aero package. I can tell we're going faster by ourselves, but this is basically the package I ran in Busch on the superspeedways except the Busch cars didn't have as much motor. The aero package was about the same and from what I can remember about it, it's real hard to pass. You can get behind a person, but you've got to have a lot of help to pass. The package we had here last year was pretty simple to draft up and pass each other, but I still think it's going to be three-wide.

"We're going to work hard together. We're all still the same team. We started to click at the end of last year. I'm going to have some good teachers. Jeremy has got a lot of experience and he runs good at a lot of flat tracks just like I do. Maybe he can help me out a little more on that."


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Series NASCAR Cup