The full complement of Roush Racing's Winston Cup teams hit the track for the first time in 2001 on Monday as part of a two-day manufacturer's test leading up to the 43rd annual Daytona 500. Delayed four hours due to passing rain showers,...
The full complement of Roush Racing's Winston Cup teams hit the track for the first time in 2001 on Monday as part of a two-day manufacturer's test leading up to the 43rd annual Daytona 500. Delayed four hours due to passing rain showers, practice began shortly after 1:00 p.m. EST, and along with 16 other Ford drivers, all four Roush Racing drivers circled the 2.5-mile tri-oval in both their primary and secondary cars during the four-hour session. With a total of 33 cars completing laps, Matt Kenseth was the fastest of the Roush Racing drivers posting the quickest time of the session, while teammates Mark Martin, Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton were the sixth, seventh and 25th, fastest cars, respectively.
Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford Taurus (overall quickest, 49.377 seconds, 182.271 mph): "Our second car is probably not as fast as it looks like; there were some other cars on the track at the same time, so it's probably not as fast as it looks. It's nice to be the fastest today, but I think a lot of people probably weren't showing how fast they could run, so we'll probably have a little better idea tomorrow, but we won't know the whole truth until we qualify for the Daytona 500. I wasn't overly optimistic heading into this test. For last two Talladega races, we took a provisional in one and we were 36th in the other qualifying (session). We didn't qualify spectacularly here, so we struggle a little on the superspeedways, but we had some time since we're caught up on cars to really concentrate on our speedway cars and fine tune them and massage and pay a lot of attention to detail. A lot of people were doing simulated race runs and didn't have a lot of tape on the grill, but we were pretty much doing qualifying runs and doing two laps at a time. When you do two laps at a time, handling really doesn't come into play, not even here so we were just looking for speed."
Martin, No. 6 Viagra Ford Taurus (6th quickest, 50.028 seconds, 179.899 mph) "Today was typical. Actually, we started off looking OK, and then we thought we got to looking real good, and then by then end of the day we got to looking typical for us. So, we had some encouragement midway through but we finished up the day disappointed. Tomorrow we're going to keep looking for what happened. At one point we were looking pretty darn good and then every time after that we just slowed down. We're going to try to figure out what that is. Other people didn't slow down like we did, so we know we have some work to do. To be honest, we need that half of a day on Wednesday. We need all the time we can get. We're getting ready for the Daytona 500 and you have two cars and you've got barely two days and a lot of folks on the race track. You don't get a chance to do nearly as much testing as you'd like to, so you certainly need all the time you can get."
Busch, No. 97 Roush Racing Ford Taurus (7th quickest, 50.044 seconds, 179.842 mph): "We made some progress getting the guys working on the car and getting everyone familiar again with race track procedures. We have two identical cars and two identical motors, so we have some consistent stuff, we just need to pull some more speed out of it. Tomorrow we'll be able to work on that in the morning when it's nice and cool out, and then in the afternoon we need to be ready for that drafting practice. The cars seem to be a lot more stable than the trucks out there, so it was actually easier to get acclimated to the track. Since I haven't raced on a superspeedway track in a Winston Cup car, I can't compare the new rules package to what we had in Talladega. I think, however, we will see a different type of qualifying compared to last year. It will be nice to have a half a day on Wednesday so that we can work on some more aerodynamic changes and put some of what we learned in the wind tunnel to the test."
Burton, No. 99 CITGO SUPERGARD Ford Taurus (25th quickest, 50.785 seconds, 177.218 mph): "For us, this was not a really good day. We just had a bad day. We unloaded slow and we're loading up slow. We just never gained on it, and if anything, we went the wrong way. It wasn't a very productive day. We certainly aren't going to quick, but right now it appears that it's an uphill battle. The good news is that we have some cars in our fleet that are running good, and that's one of the advantages of have in multi-car team. When you're not running well and they are, you can go talk to them and try to see what they're doing right and what we're doing wrong. We need to learn something because we aren't getting it done. Test time is so valuable that if you miss time on the track you have to make it up; you can't give it away. You only get seven tests a year, and this is one of them. Tests are two days and we only got a half of a day today, so we need Wednesday to make this a full two days just to be efficient with our time. Testing is limited, and you need to take advantage of every hour you get."