Las Vegas Preseason Thunder - Toyota afternoon notes 2008-01-28

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Test Day 1 PM Las Vegas Motor Speedway January 28, 2008 KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How has the Las Vegas test been going, you were quickest today? "We've been trying hard on these...

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Test
Day 1 PM
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
January 28, 2008

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

How has the Las Vegas test been going, you were quickest today? "We've been trying hard on these cars to get more grip in them. So far everything has gone well. The guys have been digging in and working hard trying to make it faster. We are still learning and trying to make it better. So far, so good. We are here to look good. It doesn't matter what the test shows as long as you can come out here and repeat it on race weekend. That's what matters to us. Everything we have been doing has been pretty much right on base. Hopefully we can keep learning and keep making the cars go faster." Is this test the most important one so far? "They're all important, but this one, California and probably Atlanta, the one we had last fall, are the most important tests."

What is it like to be quickest in your hometown and with a new manufacturer? "You go to every race track and try to make the best of it. I've got a great bunch of guys with Joe Gibbs Racing and the Toyota power underneath the hood. It's important for us to come out here and look good, and ultimately make Joe and J.D. (Gibbs) look good for picking me. It's been pretty cool to come out here -- as well as the Atlanta and Daytona test -- and be fast at all of them. Hopefully we will be able to go to California and do the same thing. We knew the manufacturer wasn't going to be a hold back, that's why we made the swap. This is still TRD's (Toyota Racing Development) motor package in this car -- it isn't a Gibbs motor package -- so I can only presume that we will come back here with more."

Who's your pick for the Super Bowl? "I'm going to go with the Patriots because they haven't lost in so many games. Obviously, Bill Belichick has something to prove because of the controversy he had to go through earlier this season. I think they are going to be able to knock it out."

***

J.J. YELEY, No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry, Hall of Fame Racing

How has your test in Las Vegas been going? "I think we are running a lot different program than what everyone else seems to be running. We are still trying to baseline the car and get a good feel for what we need to do. These tires really fall off a lot. If you look at some of the faster cars, every lap that they are on the race track they are two or three tenths of a second slower. I think right now in order to win the war you need to have a consistent car and not a car that is going to put out a super, big lap on the first one and run really slow after 10. The car is real stable especially for our first time here with this car. We have a long way to go, but we are pretty pleased with what we were able to accomplish here today."

Has the wind and weather today affected your testing efforts? "The wind is pretty big. The wind is always another factor here in Las Vegas. Especially when we test, it's always gusting. This is by far the worst gusting I've ever encountered here in testing. You can really feel it between turns three and four and the wind seems to blow over the fence. You can feel it in turns one and two, but it doesn't seem to be as bad there as before they re-did the banking. It's affecting the car, but the temperature is so cool right now that the tires have a lot of grip."

How has the switch to a new team and manufacturer been for you? "It's been really good. I'm still surprised by the technical support and the effort that Toyota is putting forth into NASCAR. I've never seen this type of support from a manufacturer. It definitely shortens the learning curve. They are a huge asset to Hall of Fame Racing and the engineering support they bring to us. It helps all of the Toyota teams speed up the learning curve to where we can be competitive week in and week out." Who is your pick for the Super Bowl? "I am not a huge fan of either of the teams in the Super Bowl. I am more of an underdog kind of guy. I would get a lot of pleasure to see the New York Giants win. They are underrated and it's always fun to see the underdog win."

***

DALE JARRETT, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

How has this test in Las Vegas been going? "It's going really well so far -- our organization did a lot of work over the winter. In particular, Michael Waltrip, Michael McDowell, David Reutimann and Mark Green -- they've done a lot of testing. Our test team kept telling me how much better we were going to be because we really struggled with these cars last year. Dr. Eric Warren (Vice President, Technical Director) has done a terrific job at organizing all of that. I was pleasantly surprised when I got in the car here and made the first few laps -- the car does things that we couldn't get it to do last year. We have speed and the car drives well for a number of laps."

Do you think the Vegas and California tests are a better measurement to how you will do this season? "I think we have a really good restrictor plate package and I think that showed up last year at Talladega with the plates we are running it seems to work well for the whole Toyota camp. But, we run a lot more of these types of race tracks and run these cars a lot more. This test is very big for everybody -- these four days. It helps for us to validate what we've done at other tracks over the winter and shows we are heading in the right direction. I know that Toyota has continued to work extremely hard on our engine package to get the power where we need it. To me, that seems to be a lot better than what we had last year. I don't think all of this is happening as a coincidence to Joe Gibbs Racing coming on board. I'm sure they've been very helpful with all the teams but I know that I've seen their people at our shop and around our garage when we've been testing and I'm very pleased about that."

Do you have a favorite for this weekend's Super Bowl? "I think it is going to be hard to beat the Patriots. They have been a machine all year. To me -- especially when you are here in Vegas -- there are two different ways to look at the football game. You can look at who you think is going to win and who's going to cover the point spread. I think that 12 points is a pretty lofty number. I think the Patriots are going to win, but if you look at the history of when they've won there games they've been pretty close and I'm looking for another close one."

-credit: toyota motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Mark Green , Michael McDowell , David Reutimann
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , Hall of Fame Racing , Toyota Racing