Busch Series Testing Rolls into High Gear at California Speedway FONTANA, Calif. (January 31, 2005) --- NASCAR Preseason Thunder moved to the West Coast as the NASCAR Busch Series teams began testing at California Speedway on Monday. The test...
Busch Series Testing Rolls into High Gear at California Speedway
FONTANA, Calif. (January 31, 2005) --- NASCAR Preseason Thunder moved to the West Coast as the NASCAR Busch Series teams began testing at California Speedway on Monday. The test not only helps the teams get into the swing of the season again, but also helps them try out tires and a lower gear ratio that will be new in 2005.
"We brought in a new car," 2004 NASCAR Busch Series Champion Martin Truex Jr (No. 8 , Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) said. "We're running through our cars. It's new, so we want to kind of shake it up. Basically, we're just trying to get a good start and setup. It seems to be kind of like what we ran last year." With the new tires for 2005, Truex said, "We've already tried a couple of things that didn't work. Hopefully, we'll find some things that do with this test."
One of the toughest jobs at the track this week is that of a crew chief. Jay Guy, crew chief for the No. 47 ST Motorsports Ford driven by Jon Wood is focused on his team's objectives. "We're just working on race trim. We're just learning about the Ford and learning about Jon. We're working on a couple spring, shock and sway bar packages. We're just trying to get Jon used to them. [Tuesday], we're going to fine-tune on some of the things we found today. Hopefully, we're going to do three or four 30 to 40 lap runs to simulate race conditions."
Teams on hand for the test were coping with strong winds up to 24 mph. "You can feel it down the front straight away," said Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet). "You're going good and all of a sudden a gust comes. It's like the car stops. I don't know if it's really affecting the lap times that much. It's not like Daytona, where everything depends on the wind."
Hamlin, a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate, was getting his first look at the 2-mile superspeedway. "Things are going really well," he said. "I got use to the track on the first run. It's all pretty much new to me. I think we've got the car going pretty well. We're a few ticks from where we want to be. We haven't really adjusted on it yet, still trying to get use to the track. Once we get going this afternoon, I think we'll be really good. Our first run out, we were only a tenth of what they ran last year. That tells us right there that we are definitely making improvements. I don't see why we can't come here and run top five."
Clint Bowyer (No. 2 AC Delco Chevrolet) was also dealing with Monday morning's winds. "The wind's disturbing the car right now," he said. "I'm having a little bit more trouble in one corner than the other. You're kind of teasing yourself a little bit with the wind blowing so hard. We're pretty happy with the car." Bowyer's team is comparing two cars the team brought to the West Coast for testing. "We have two brand new cars here and we're trying to get the feel for them and get them where we like them. We want to feel them both out and see which one is best for this track."
Busch Series veteran Tim Fedewa (No. 12 Hot Tamales Dodge) was adjusting to changes in manufacturers and changes he noted to the track. "It's really windy," he said. "The track is in good shape. We switched over to Dodges. This is the first in a down force car. Everything's going good. I haven't had the greatest success here, but we've run well at times. I definitely know the feel I'm looking for. I think the track's weathered a little bit over the winter. It seems a little bumpier in places, not terribly bumpy. We just have to adjust our shock package."
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test session at California Speedway on February 2-3 is open to the public for free. Gates open to the public on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. and guests are invited to watch the cars on-track from above the Terrace Suites along Pit Road. After the cars have finished testing for the day, guests are invited to attend the fan forum, which will be limited to the first 1,500 guests in the standing-room-only tent (guests will be admitted in the tent beginning at 4:30 p.m.). Guests can also attend the test on Thursday, February 3rd from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Tickets to February's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Auto Club 500 are on sale. For more information, call 800-944-RACE  or visit www.californiaspeedway.com. - Auto Club 500 -