NASCAR Nationwide Series Teams Test At Lowe's Motor Speedway * Rusty Wallace Racing Eager To Take Momentum Forward, Make Most Of Test * Rookie Bryan Clauson Sees Gains Out Of Day One CONCORD, N.C. (May 13, 2008) -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series...
NASCAR Nationwide Series Teams Test At Lowe's Motor Speedway
* Rusty Wallace Racing Eager To Take Momentum Forward, Make Most Of Test
* Rookie Bryan Clauson Sees Gains Out Of Day One
CONCORD, N.C. (May 13, 2008) -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams made no vacation out of their open week. Instead, the majority of teams spent time in their backyard -- Lowe's Motor Speedway -- Monday and Tuesday participating in the fourth NASCAR-sanctioned testing sessions of the year.
The two-day test kept most of the teams on their home turf and provided an opportunity to gain information not only for the upcoming CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at LMS on May 24, but for the other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule, such as Kentucky Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
Rusty Wallace Racing teammates David Stremme (No. 64 Atreus Home & Communities Chevrolet) and Steve Wallace (No. 66 Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet) took a break on Monday to visit with media about their team's growth and momentum.
"The season has been pretty good so far," Stremme said. "We knew this was going to be a building process, having a brand-new team put together."
While his team may be new, Stremme finds himself 10th in the driver standings. He also sees that his team has gained a lot of ground.
"It was really noticeable last week when we started at Darlington," he said. "We qualified pretty well and we ran up front. Steven ran up front there. And when we're running against teams like the 2, 60, 29, the 20 -- guys who've been together for two, three years and are very strong in the Nationwide Series -- to be very competitive with them week in and week out so far, I'm very proud of that. That's something we're going to keep building on and that's something that's part of this test, to try things, tune things, and to improve to try to beat those guys."
Wallace, in his second full season, is coming off consecutive top-five finishes and is happy with the team's direction.
"We started off a little slow this season, but (we) feel like the season has changed for the better," he said. "I feel like me and Harold Holly (No. 66 crew chief) and David and Dale Ferguson (No. 64 crew chief) (are) all starting to blend together, understand each other better. Our cars are running better and all the momentum is there. Everything so far is really good."
Wallace also thinks that it's not only the team and season that have changed. "I feel like I've matured a lot," he said. "I feel like David's really helped me a lot with that."
'Beast' Is Beautiful To Clauson ... Following Day One of testing in Charlotte, Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Bryan Clauson (No. 40 Fastenal Dodge), felt his team was in stride. "Testing Monday was productive for us," he said. "We weren't fast on the speed charts, but we made some gains on the car and by the end of the night, we felt like we had a top-10 car. We felt we have something that could compete with the other guys. We're right where we need to be. We have some things to try today, to build on yesterday."
Clauson, 18, who finished 20th at LMS last fall, truly enjoys the track, nicknamed the 'Beast of the Southeast.'
"I really like this place," he said. "From when we unloaded here last year, I loved it. This place is fast but it's so wide, you can run pretty much where you want to. I feel like it fits my driving style (and) kind of plays right into my hands. And coming off Turns 3 and 4 with the 'Beast' looking right at you, that's kind of cool."
Clauson (73 points in six races) is second in the rookie standings to his injured Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates teammate Dario Franchitti (89 points in eight races).
Pit Stops ... Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) stayed atop the speed charts in both sessions Monday after posting a best time of 182.217 mph / 29.635 seconds.
The start of Tuesday's session was delayed for repairs to the wall in Turn 1, and teams ran through the scheduled break to make up for lost time.
Up Next ... The NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to action with the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 Saturday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m.