Notes From Ford Wednesday Daytona Test

Daytona Ford testing Wednesday Notebook By Brett Borden DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 13, 1999) Notes and quotes from Ford Motor Company's final pre-season NASCAR Winston Cup Series test session Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway: ...

Daytona Ford testing Wednesday Notebook By Brett Borden

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 13, 1999) Notes and quotes from Ford Motor Company's final pre-season NASCAR Winston Cup Series test session Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway:

Jasper Engines Ford driver Robert Pressley said he has nothing solid going in terms of a part-time ride in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series or the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division for 1999. He had an eighth-best 190.577 mph lap on Wednesday in his NWC ride.

"I don't know where all that got started," said Pressley of published rumors he'd have a truck ride in 1999. "I'm looking at some options on some trucks, but I haven't done anything yet. I'm just really wanting to run a little bit of Busch and a little bit of trucks but right now nothing's definite."

Pressley drove 18 races in the NBS in 1998 for ST Motorsports in the No. 59 Kingsford/Matchlight Chevrolet. Mike Dillon will drive that car in 1999.

Kenny Irwin comes into 1999 expecting bigger and better things following his Raybestos Rookie of the Year campaign in 1998. He said he expects to win his first NASCAR Winston Cup race this year.

"That's what we're planning on," said Irwin. "I'm a lot more prepared for everything because I know what's coming. Or you like to think you know what's coming. I think I'm coming into it with just a different attitude -- more confidence. And that's just because I've been here now and just know what to expect and I'm looking forward to it."

Irwin was disappointed in his testing efforts through the first day and a half of the final Ford Manufacturer's NASCAR Winston Cup test at Daytona, even though his No. 28A Texaco Havoline Taurus was seventh fastest out of 42 cars on Tuesday.

"We're kind of not where we want to be," said Irwin, who topped-out at 191.15 mph -- fourth-quickest of the winter so far with one two-day GM test remaining. "We came down with a car that we thought was going to be our Daytona car, our 500 car I should say, and it's kind of turned out where it's not. And now we're just trying to figure out what our best car is -- if it's still at the shop or if it's going to be the backup car."

Ricky Rudd had a rough day in testing Tuesday, with his two cars 37th and 38th fastest of the 42 cars on hand, and he said the No. 10 Tide Taurus team would not likely accomplish its goals in the two-day test. Rudd improved his speed to 187.586 mph Wednesday, but was only 28th-quickest of the 35 cars that ran.

"We worked on chassis yesterday and today," said Rudd. "We realized we had 'aero' problems yesterday. Went back to the hotel last night, re-grouped, and I think they already picked the cars up over a half second just in some aero changes.

"A two-day test is kind of tight. Three days would be nice. Two days is just such an accelerated program that I already see that we're probably not going to get done what we need to get done here. We'll probably have to go to Talladega again. Aero is really where it's at right now. But you've also gotta get the car to ride low on the race track. So we worked on that yesterday and worked on aero today."

Jerry Nadeau was the surprise of Tuesday's session, with the second- and eighth-fastest cars in the garage. Wednesday he said hard work was the secret to the Melling Racing team's success.

"We unloaded yesterday really, really fast and we got both cars underneath a 47.50, so today we're basically just working on our primary car, trying different techniques, heights, manifolds and the motor guys are trying a lot of stuff with Pro Motors," said Nadeau, who ended the session as only the third man over 192 mph this winter at Daytona at 192.082 mph in the No. 9 Cartoon Network Ford. "We're just trying to tweak and turn and make sure when we come back here in February we're going to be running up front.

"Anybody could do what I did yesterday," he said. "I'm just turning the wheel. These guys, I tell you, the whole Melling group has really, really worked hard ever since Atlanta (in November). And it shows. I've been there every day with the guys. We barely took any time off, and we built two great superspeedway cars, we've still got a great backup car back at home in Charlotte. Everybody's really pumped up. We've got a brand new shop. We've got new sponsors this year -- WCW and TBS along with Cartoon Network, and the guys are just tickled to death to get things going."

Nadeau said the early-season order of paint schemes is pretty much set.

"The Cartoon Network's going to be in Daytona and the first few races," he said. "Then we've got the Atlanta Braves that's going to be at the Atlanta race. Out in the Las Vegas race we're going to debut the WCW car, so we've got a lot of neat things going on this year. I think we've got about four or five paint schemes all year long, and I'm sure that we'll have a lot of collectibles that are going to be selling a lot this year. We've got the Dexters cartoon and the Jetsons. So any of you Jetson fans or Dexter fans make sure you come out and watch us."

In a brand switch, Midwest Transit Chevrolet driver Dan Pardus, the Daytona Beach resident who will make a run for Raybestos Brakes Rookie of the Year, stood-in for CSG Racing driver and friend Mark Gibson, who was unable to test on Tuesday due to an episode of kidney stones. Gibson recovered well enough to drive on Wednesday, in the team's third test session of the winter at Daytona -- after it ran with the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series cars in December and earlier this month at the first Ford test.

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jerry Nadeau , Robert Pressley , Mark Gibson