NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ford NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) drivers Greg Biffle and Mike Wallace were the Ford representatives at a NASCAR test at the Daytona International Speedway on Monday, September 13. Two representatives ...
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Ford NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) drivers Greg Biffle and Mike Wallace were the Ford representatives at a NASCAR test at the Daytona International Speedway on Monday, September 13. Two representatives from each of the three engine manufacturers were chosen to assess the speeds and stability of the trucks at the world-renowned speedway.
Originally scheduled as a two-day test, the drivers and their teams were forced out of the Daytona, Florida area by the approaching Hurricane Floyd. Below are the driver's comments following the test session.
Greg Biffle - #50 - Grainger Ford F-150: HOW DID THE TEST GO FOR YOU OVERALL? "We ran well. I could run with the #24 (Jack Sprague). I probably would have had a tough time passing him but he could pass me when he wanted to because he didn't have as much drag as we did. I think I had one of the better trucks to be able to race well there in race trim. I was really excited to go there for my first time. The track was bumpier than what I expected. Not that the track is too bumpy. It's just at those speeds we were going; a little dip in the track makes a big difference. We were able to control some of that problem with different shocks like everybody else did and that made the truck a whole bunch more stable to drive. When we put more rear spoiler to it to slow it down, like NASCAR wanted, the truck was much more driveable. We were going side-by-side in the draft and were passing each other. If and when we race there, it would be a pretty spectacular deal like running at California or Michigan where the trucks can go two and three wide."
WHAT DID THE TEST TEACH YOU AND THE TEAM? "I think we learned a bunch down there. Just going to a superspeedway you learn what it takes to run flat out the whole way around the racetrack. I learned a small amount about drafting at higher speeds and what to do and not do at Daytona. Everybody told me to not get the tire down on the apron when you're trying to cut a fast lap. I dipped a tire just for a brief second down onto the apron and it really wants to suck the nose down hard. That could be really detrimental really quickly! I almost got to that point too. I found some of the edges of about how far I can go. I got loose one time after we put the wickers on the front, which created more downforce on the nose. The back end jumped out one time. The wickers slowed us down about four tenths but without standing the wing up anymore, it made the truck a little freer to drive."
WHAT DOES THE JUMP IN MPH FEEL LIKE TO THE DRIVER GOING FROM 170 MPH TO 190 MPH PLUS?" It's a pretty big jump. But the racetrack kind of numbs your feeling of speed because of the banking and the sheer size of the track. But it's still a pretty big difference. That's as fast as I've ever gone in anything. Compared to going from lets say, 125 to 150 miles per hour, it's a lot different and a lot more challenging. At Daytona, we might have topped out on the straights at about 205 or 210 (mph)."
Mike Wallace - #2 - Team ASE Ford F-150: HOW DID THE TEST GO FOR YOU OVERALL? "Overall things went just fine. I think this was more of an evaluation test of how and what rules NASCAR might put into place. This was not a test to go and see how fast you could run. I think that NASCAR doesn't want the trucks to run as fast as the Busch Grand National cars or the Winston Cup cars and the trucks don't need to run that fast. So they were looking at ways of slowing them down without putting restrictor plates on them. They (NASCAR) don't want to get into a restrictor plate situation where it costs a lot of money to do a lot of motor development and things like that. They want us to come and race with our base line truck."
WHAT DID THE TEST TEACH YOU AND THE TEAM? "Well it was strictly an evaluation test for NASCAR. And I've been to Daytona before in a Busch car so it really felt like I was going slow. I've qualified there at over 190 miles per hour so to run 183 or so didn't seem like that big of a deal. Of course, the trucks still don't have the downforce that the cars do. It's not like they're stuck to the ground. There are some things that you can do to really make them feel like they're stuck to the ground with the nose lips and more rear spoiler. If NASCAR took a suggestion from Mike Wallace, I'd say to put nose lips and more spoiler on them and that will slow them down to get them to run in the mid-180mph range. Plus you will create a more stable vehicle at that point. We all ran fine individually and then we got out as a six-truck draft situation and ran two-two and two and wiggled them all around. It felt fine. My truck was a little loose because we had it totally freed up and at the end of the session, I got up and scraped the wall in (turn) one. I was at the top of the track doing something I probably shouldn't have done. It just scraped the surface of the paint. When we were all done, we were asked to give NASCAR our input of what we thought. Then of course the hurricane cancelled everything we were going to do on Tuesday. But I think NASCAR got the information and driver input they wanted. Now they'll go back and make some decisions."