Fontana Preseason Thunder - Toyota afternoon notes 2008-01-31

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Test Day 1 PM California Speedway January 31, 2008 DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How's the West Coast pre-season testing going? "It was good for us. We were fastest in the ...

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Test
Day 1 PM
California Speedway
January 31, 2008

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

How's the West Coast pre-season testing going? "It was good for us. We were fastest in the morning and right up there in the top two and three all afternoon, so we're pretty pleased with it. It's good enough that where we're going to pack up and go home."

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KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Are you going to be running Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series events this year? "It's going to be a busy year. We've got the whole cup schedule which is obviously priority with the M&M's Toyota -- but we've also got the Nationwide car with Joe Gibbs Racing along with Braun Racing. So it's a busy year there and then of course I'm racing in the Craftsman Truck Series as well. We're going to run races with Billy Ballew Motorsports and we're still looking for sponsorship for that deal there. I don't have anything but a Tundra on that one. It's going to be fun though I'm looking forward to it and it's going to be a busy year and a hard year, but the more track time you get the better is what I always say."

Is there a translation between the Trucks and Cup race car? "Not much, really. In the Trucks they've been cut down on horsepower this year so that's going to be a big deal, as well as the Nationwide cars being cut down from the Cup cars. The Cup cars are really, really fast still even though they are bigger and bulkier -- they're still fast at the places we go to. What's going to translate isn't going to be much because these cars are so different with the way the springs are, the bump-stops and the front- ends in the Cup car. The trucks are still probably the most fun to drive and yet the most challenging to drive -- yet the Cup cars are their own animal, too."

What's it like to race with guys who have kids older than you? "I've been with that my whole career really. I've raced in legends cars at home, modifieds and late models where there were guys I was racing against who were 45 and 50-years-old that had grandkids older than I was. I've been with that my whole life. It doesn't matter how old the guys you are racing with -- it only matters who they are as a racer and not necessarily their age. There are plenty of them that have talent and are up there in the years. Dale Jarrett sure hasn't given up much, Mark Martin is sure right there and all those guys that sure love doing it."

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RYAN PEMBERTON, Crew Chief, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

How's the West Coast pre-season testing going? "Testing is going fine. We're learning a lot -- a lot about the car, the tracks, each other -- so our learning curve is pretty steep right now. At t he end of the day you always learn something. We are all learning about one another right now -- where the team was and where the team is going. We are trying to use all the facets of everybody here, there's a lot of people with different backgrounds and we are trying to draw from the expertise from every person and put it all together. There's a lot to soak up right now and it will only get better and easier with time."

How important is this test? "Right now, where we are in points, going forward these are extremely important tests to make sure we get off the ground quick and fast. So far what we've been able to do and where we are at -- we feel we're competitive and have a fair amount of speed both here and at Vegas. We just need to be able to capitalize on that when we come back."

What do you think about the change in qualifying for those outside the top-35? "It's one of those things that if you are not part of that group, you don't really think about it. Now that I'm thinking about it, it's really a much flatter playing field. I believe that allows the teams to control their own destiny a little bit and maybe not have it left so much up to the weather or a gust of wind. It's not that it can't happen, it's just less likely to happen when we are all grouped together like that."

-credit: toyota

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Michael Waltrip
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing