DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Camry, Bill Davis Racing How was your car today in the test? "We just can't get our car balanced right, handling-wise. Nothing we did today seemed to help a whole lot. I guess we're not shooting at the right ...
DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Camry, Bill Davis Racing
How was your car today in the test? "We just can't get our car balanced right, handling-wise. Nothing we did today seemed to help a whole lot. I guess we're not shooting at the right target. The tires fall off here, but we can't even get the car balanced right on the first lap on the tires. We have issues with the car, but we'll keep working tomorrow."
How important is this test heading into the off-season? "This test is huge. It gives you direction for the winter and gives you things to work on. You definitely don't want to be confused over the winter, so we'd like to find some positives here, for sure."
Does the team have optimism to finish the season strong despite yesterday's troubles? "I think we're pretty confident that we can run well. We've been fast lately on the mile-and-a-half tracks. We weren't very good yesterday even before the fuel issue. We weren't going to have a great day, and then the fuel thing killed us."
Has there been a transition period with the team since you became crew chief? "I've worked with these guys testing for quite some time, so there really wasn't a transition period. It's really not a whole lot different. The goal is the same as it's always been - to make the car go faster."
How is your relationship with Brian Vickers? "My relationship is great with Brian. We even went to the same high school. We were a few years apart, but we had most of the same teachers. We grew up racing around all the same people, so working with him has been pretty easy."
How did the first day of testing go for your car? "We unloaded and the cars were pretty good. We took our setup and put it in the 84 car, and they liked it. We have to continue to develop a few things. We tried a lot of stuff today, but nothing really woke it up or shut it down. We're probably where we were earlier this morning, but the track slowed down a little bit."
DR. ERIC WARREN, Technical Director, Michael Waltrip Racing
How important is this test to the entire MWR organization? "I think it's very important because we get to see a tire that is closer to what we're going to race here. We've been looking at a bunch of things today on the COT because it travels a lot less than the normal car. You can learn things at other test tracks, but not like you can here. The rest of the field is here, so you can get a good camparison. There is rubber on the track straight from the race yesterday and a representative tires. It's definitely the best conditions to test in."
Is this the best chance for the team to prepare for the first five races of 2008? "There's no substitute for showing up as prepared as we can for the first five races next year. Getting in the top- 35 in points in the first five races is a mini-season, in and of itself. It has shown this year how h ard it is to get back in after you've fallen out. This test sets the tone for the off-season, so it's critical.
What do you think you have done to improve the team over the last month? "It's surprising how little I think I have done. Sometimes, it's just getting everybody thinking about different things. It's about building momentum. I didn't come in and say, 'This is wrong - change this,' and we started running better. There are a lot of good people at Michael Waltrip Racing. They have done a lot of work. Some of it was good timing and some of it was good luck. A lot of it is just generating discussion, though. We just needed different things to talk about. We've had a few runs and got some confidence that we have good stuff and we've seen the performance. It's something to build on. I guess I've tried to be a catalyst. I just wanted to get everybody thinking about different things and get things the right way for the future. I'd love to believe that I've come in and found a smoking gun, but it's just not there."
-credit: toyota motorsports