U.S. Army Team upbeat following Daytona test session. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 9, 2003) - As the preseason test session for the Daytona 500 came to a close Thursday, United States Army NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jerry Nadeau and crew chief Ryan...
U.S. Army Team upbeat following Daytona test session.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 9, 2003) - As the preseason test session for the Daytona 500 came to a close Thursday, United States Army NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jerry Nadeau and crew chief Ryan Pemberton were feeling upbeat.
The three-day test session on the famed 2.5-mile oval at Daytona International Speedway produced what both Nadeau and Pemberton had hoped for - to shake down and learn the characteristics of the new Pontiac and develop a working chemistry among the driver, crew chief and crew.
"Testing went well," said Pemberton, who joined MB2 Motorsports to work on the U.S. Army team following the 2002 season. "We were kind of conservative and real methodical with the changes. We wanted to make sure what we learned was true to form so when we picked up a tenth we knew it was a true tenth. We didn't concentrate on necessarily laying down top speed, we just made sure that we picked through the parts and pieces and accumulated enough data."
Nadeau, who echoed Pemberton's evaluation of testing, was more excited when discussing the team and his new ride.
"I feel like this is probably the best opportunity I've had in Winston Cup," said the 32 year-old Nadeau. "Working with Ryan is a guarantee - we worked together in the past and developed a great chemistry. The guys are also great. They've been working hard during the off-season and that's going to pay off. I'm ecstatic. We've got Hendrick motors, Pontiac and I'm looking to give the U.S. Army a good run.
"Regarding testing I am pleased. You come down here and spend 90 percent of your effort to prepare for qualifying. The Daytona 500 is a prestigious race and everybody wants to be on the front row and get all of the hoopla. However, if you're not on the front row it's not a make or break situation. It's just a place to start."
Pemberton was also pleased with the attitude and chemistry of the new U.S. Army team.
"Things are great with Jerry and the race team," said Pemberton. "The crew likes the driver and that automatically makes my job and our relationship better. I had the opportunity to work with Jerry four years ago and we had some fun and some success at the same time. We're looking forward to continuing that relationship."
Next for the U.S. Army team will be a test session for the downforce cars later in the month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The team will then head back to Daytona Beach for the season opener. Practice for the Daytona 500 begins Saturday, Feb. 8. Pole qualifying is Sunday, Feb. 9th, the twin 125-mile qualifying races are set for Thursday, Feb. 13 and the green flag for the Daytona 500 will drop on Sunday, Feb. 16th.