Mast pleasantly surprised with testing By Brett Borden DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 14, 1999) The telephones of NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran driver Rick Mast and team owner Cale Yarborough were not exactly ringing off the hook with offers...
Mast pleasantly surprised with testing By Brett Borden
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 14, 1999) The telephones of NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran driver Rick Mast and team owner Cale Yarborough were not exactly ringing off the hook with offers this past offseason. Yarborough actually had to virtually shut down his shop for a brief time due to lack of sponsorship, while Mast was one of several drivers left standing after a late season game of musical drivers' seats.
But the two joined forces during the off-season's 11th hour, bringing in another veteran of the garage wars -- Waddell Wilson -- as team manager. That's a lot of experience, but how could a team put together at the last minute experience any success?
Fast forward to racing's fast lane -- Daytona International Speedway. Mast & Co. came to town almost as long in the odds department as they are in the tooth. After two days of taking advantage of Ford's final NASCAR Winston Cup Series test at Daytona prior to Speedweeks, they leave it with a much better feeling.
Mast's No. 98 Ford Taurus was 17th fastest among 24 teams on Tuesday, then picked up four spots on Wednesday. His top speed increased from 187.954 mph the first day to 189.474 mph the second.
"I've been pleasantly surprised," Mast said Wednesday morning. "The guys are a little behind. The shop shut down and they lost about a month, month and a half of work during the winter. Then they put it back together hiring a bunch of new guys, assembled people to work around the clock and get these cars prepared to come down here.
"When we unloaded the car was in pretty decent shape. We've been busy since then trying to tune on the car. We don't have the speed out of it yet that we need, but I know the speed's in it if we can get it out of it. A lot of times you come here and you've maxed everything out and that's all you're going to run. I've been here a lot of times like that, you're not going to run any faster. But in this particular case, the car's got a lot of speed left in it if we can get it out of it."
Mast said the team would probably need to test at Talladega, too. Catching up at Daytona left time only to test one of the two cars the team brought to town.
According to the 41-year-old veteran of 11 NASCAR Winston Cup Series seasons, experience has helped the team get through its get-to-know-one-another phase.
"It has a good little bit," he said. "A lot of experience being a lot of basic experience in racing. It's so easy at Daytona, or anywhere, really, to get off in left field on a small item, and that small item can just manifest itself into something large and before you know it you're out in left field and you don't have any idea why.
"That's really where experience in Winston Cup racing comes into play. It keeps some of the newer guys and newer ideas from getting lost too far. So (the experience factor) has been pretty good so far. I've been real happy so far. You don't know what to expect. It's an all-new deal. New people -- I've never worked with any of these guys before. And most of them haven't worked with each other, but up to this point the thing's working really like clockwork."
Mast hopes that can keep Father Time from catching up to him and his team, especially in Bud Pole Qualifying for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 6.
Source: NASCAR Online