DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2000) When you ask Elton Sawyer what his goal is for his 18th season in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division, his answer is simple: "to win the championship." After testing the No. 98 Akins Motorsports...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2000) When you ask Elton Sawyer what his goal is for his 18th season in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division, his answer is simple: "to win the championship." After testing the No. 98 Akins Motorsports Lysol Ford at Daytona International Speedway recently, Sawyer says he feels his team is on the right track, with a 184.657-mph lap putting them in the top-third of the speed chart after two days of testing.
Akins Motorsports was one of four Ford teams to attend the test.
"I can honestly say this is the first time I have come here to test, had a plan and stuck to it," Sawyer said. "We all came with a job to do and tried not to get caught up in all the other stuff that goes on during testing, like staring at the (scoring) computer to see where our lap put us on the chart.
"You have to be patient here and not be concerned with your speed all the time. We came with specific objectives: To work on our aero package, our chassis and our engines."
Sawyer said the team's engines were excellent, and that the 98 team is fine-tuning the body by working on the body panels to help direct the airflow over the car.
After trading in a Ford for a Chevrolet at Daytona and Talladega last season, Sawyer says that he is happy to be running a Ford in every event this year.
"The 2000 Taurus is better than the 1999 version by far," Sawyer said. "We had the opportunity to run at Talladega and use the wind tunnel before Daytona, and it was a big help.
"For the past three years, we came to Daytona with three different cars. In 1998 we had a Taurus, in 1999 we brought a Monte Carlo and we are bringing a Taurus this year. We have no database to go by, which has hurt us in the past.
"We have struggled with the Taurus on the superspeedways, but this year I feel like we have made a strong effort to be better. For the first time in a long time, I feel confident that we can go to Daytona and qualify in the top-20 easily and even potentially in the top-10.
"I feel like we have all our programs in place to be a serious contender for the championship. Qualifying and finishing well at Daytona will give our team an additional morale booster and prove that this team is for real.
"It will also put us up front in the standings, and we will not have to climb out of a hole after the first few races of the season."