Preseason Thunder Test Report - Thursday
DAYTONA, Fla. – Michael Waltrip Racing completed the first of the three-day Preseason Thunder test Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. The test is in preparation for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 24.
MWR drivers Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin spent most of the day practicing single-lap qualifying runs. In the morning session, Bowyer posted the seventh quickest lap (192.143 mph) while Truex logged the sixth quickest lap (191.266 mph.).
In the afternoon session, Martin joined the three Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyotas in a four-car draft that saw the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver post the fourth quickest lap (195.063 mph.)
“The car felt real good with the other cars around,” Martin told the crew. “It was a little loose on entry into the corner, but it was a good initial run.”
The annual test marks the debut of the new-look Gen-6 production modeled car that makes its debut in the Daytona 500 next month. The sportier cars are visually different from recent cars.
Truex, driver of the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, said he liked what he saw Thursday.
“Just look at these cars,” Truex said. “You don’t have to look for the logos any more. You can just look at the cars and tell whether they are a Toyota, Chevrolet or Ford. That’s how it should be and how it was when we were growing up watching NASCAR.”
Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, said he hopes his car’s speed is a good omen for February.
“It was fun to get out there and see what it was all about,” said the 2012 three-time winner and runner-up in the championship. “I feel like from the time we unloaded our car was right back up on top of the board and I was like, ‘Well, so far so good. Guess we’ll see if we can screw it up.’ But we haven’t been able to so it’s been pretty good so far.”
Team owner Waltrip, who announced that he will seek a third Daytona 500 victory driving the No. 30 Swan Racing Toyota in February, said it is an exciting time in NASCAR.
“I can’t wait to see how it plays out,” Waltrip said Thursday. “I know the manufacturers along with NASCAR have spent a lot of time on these cars, while they have their own style lines and their own look, they really worked hard at keeping them in the same box. Hopefully, that will play out as intended.”
NASCAR.com will stream coverage of testing Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. then SPEED-TV will broadcast coverage 1-4 p.m.
The Sprint Cup teams will also test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Jan. 17-18.
NAME: Clint Bowyer
HOMETOWN: Emporia, KS
RESIDENCE: Clemmons, NC
NAME: Mark Martin
HOMETOWN: Batesville, AR
RESIDENCE: Daytona Beach, FL
NAME: Martin Truex Jr.
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, NJ
RESIDENCE: Mooresville, NC