Ford Daytona test, day 3

Ford drivers completed their manufacturer's test for the Daytona 500 with a three-hour morning session in which many teams worked on drafting. The session was granted after Monday's morning period was washed out due to rain. The teams of...

Ford drivers completed their manufacturer's test for the Daytona 500 with a three-hour morning session in which many teams worked on drafting.

The session was granted after Monday's morning period was washed out due to rain. The teams of Jeremy Mayfield and Brett Bodine went home following yesterday's full day session, but 18 other Ford teams opted to stay for today's final period.

DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus
"We learned some things, but it's hard to say until we get everybody here. I still think that, at least in qualifying trim, that the Fords are gonna be off some from our best guess. In the draft it probably won't make a lot of difference. We could use a little bit of help there, but I'm sure we're not gonna get it so it's just gonna be a matter of working hard and trying to get 'em to fix it."

YOU BROUGHT ONLY ONE CAR. WHY?
"Obviously, with just a two-day deal if you're swapping back and forth you don't have a lot of time. When we had three days of testing you had enough time to run two cars, but we felt we could get more done with one car and just making the changes on that. Then we can just incorporate that into our Bud Shootout car, so I think you just learn more and you can concentrate more on exactly what you're doing."

WILL YOU KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON THE GM AND DODGE TESTS?
"I've got to believe that those other guys that are gonna be coming down here, since they had the advantage of coming second and third, are gonna be smart enough to know what they need to do. They're not gonna give NASCAR any reason to make any changes. I think anything that's done will probably have to be done during Speedweeks, if that's possible and maybe nothing will. It's just our guess that we're gonna be still off a little bit in the drag department."

WHAT KIND OF DAYTONA 500 DO YOU SEE?
"By what I can see in five and six-car drafts out there, you can pass and make runs. I see no reason that it won't be pretty exciting. You still have the problem of getting caught up side-by-side, but that's not gonna change regardless of what we do probably. So, yeah, I think there's gonna be the opportunity for a lot of passing."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus
HOW DO YOU THINK THESE CARS WILL DRAFT IN THE RACE?
"There's a big difference from six cars to 30 cars. When 30 cars get out there it'll be a lot different than what it is right now. Right now you can run wide open and the only time you ever lift is if you're trying to get a run on a guy and he blocks you and you need to lift to keep from hitting him. In the race when you get big lines of cars, you'll have to lift to keep from running into the back of the guy on the straightaway. Today is not the best simulation of what it'll be like for the race, but it gives us a head start on setup and really that's the only reason we did that."

HOW ABOUT TRACK TEMPERATURES?
"Here, track temperatures are very important. The end of the week here, when the Daytona 500 comes around, it's hard to get hooked up on this race track. Handling is important and I think handling is gonna be even more important with 30 cars in the pack. If you can stay wide open and put yourself in some positions that your aerodynamics will allow you to put yourself in -- because you'll always be able to have a run on a guy -- then I think that'll pay dividends for you. That's why we wanted to spend the day working on setup because I think that's gonna be imperative to win the Daytona 500 or the Fourth of July race or Talladega is to be able to stay wide open in the gas."

YOU STRUGGLED ON MONDAY. DO YOU FEEL BETTER TODAY COMPARED TO THAT?
"Certainly. We didn't come here intending to struggle, but we knew that the engine we had in the car was an old engine. It really doesn't matter how fast you can run as far as testing. You come here to apply everything that you think you've learned and to try to learn some more stuff. We did that over two days. On the last day we put what we thought was our good engine in it and, sure enough, it picked us up. Everything we learned we still learned, it's just that we were nowhere on the speed chart until we finally got our latest greatest stuff and put that in. Then we were a lot better."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus
YOU SEEMED TO DRAFT PRETTY WELL.
"I'm all concerned about my qualifying package. This blue car is the car I ran all of last year and it's my 500 car that I've had the last couple of races and run real good. But I can't get the thing to qualify as fast as I want to. But this other car I've been running in the draft is brand new. We tested that car against this car in qualifying speeds and the old car is about a half-tenth faster, but this new one we put our race setup in it and it just hauls in the draft. It really runs good. I got to the back of that draft and drove right to the front of it. It sniffs a little air and that sucker takes off, but by themselves these babies will not go. You get a plug check and it feels like somebody throws a parachute out. When you get a plug check your body almost lunges forward it stops so fast. There's an incredible amount of drag out there, but I think the 500 is gonna be something else. I think you're gonna be able to throw a blanket over the entire field when they cross the line. For the fans that's gonna be good, but for us it's not. I think it's gonna be like bumper cars out there, but we'll see what happens."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Brett Bodine , Jeremy Mayfield