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DATE News (chronologically)
01/08/07
nascar
Daytona testing: Raines fastest before rain
Twenty-six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams went to work Monday at Daytona International Speedway, for the first session of NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder testing.

Among them, three Toyota teams turned their first laps at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. The manufacturer makes its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut this season.

Monday’s session was shortened due to rain, necessitating an additional half day session from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Thursday, but Team Red Bull Toyota driver Brian Vickers said the team still got in enough practice Monday to evaluate their progress.

“We just want to come down here and have a good test,” said Vickers. “It’s our first time testing – not only as a group of people but the cars as well. All of it’s a learning process for us.”

The results so far? Vickers says the cars are performing well. In particular, Vickers and his team paid close attention to the bodywork and its proximity to the wheels – a good indicator of the accuracy of chassis setups. At Daytona, where aerodynamics is critical, minute details and measurements can make a difference.

“So far we’ve had minimal fender rubs,” said Vickers, referring to the fenders rubbing against the tires. “For a brand new team and car, that’s good.  We’ve just got to have a good smooth test, nothing go wrong, get laps on the car, try stuff and learn to communicate.”

Two Toyota teams cracked the top 15 on Monday morning’s speed chart, led by Dave Blaney (No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota), who posted Toyota’s fastest lap of 48.978 seconds (183.756 mph). Blaney also posted the 11th-best lap Monday morning and three-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Jarrett (No. 44 UPS Toyota) clocked in with the 14th-fastest lap, at 49.284 seconds (182.615 mph).

Competitors from other teams, meanwhile, are anxious to test Toyota’s track mettle.

“I think all the talk is over,” said Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell Chevrolet). “It’s finally time to go race. We don’t have to hear about ‘this’ is going to happen or ‘that’ is going to happen – we’re going to actually see what’s going to happen. We get to go out on the track and see where everybody stands. I don’t think adding another manufacturer’s going to hurt anything; it’s going to make it as competitive as it’s ever been.”   

Monday AM Times 

Rank car# driver manu time speed laps run
1 96 Tony Raines Chevy 48.920 183.974 11
2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 48.948 183.869 14
3 22 Dave Blaney Toyota 48.978 183.756 29
4 26A Jamie McMurray Ford 48.992 183.703 14
5 20B Mike McLaughlin Chevy 48.993 183.700 9
6 66H Jeff Green Chevy 48.993 183.700 12
7 88A Ricky Rudd Ford 49.057 183.460 8
8 20 Mike McLaughlin Chevy 49.060 183.449 12
9 16A Greg Biffle Ford 49.116 183.240 15
10 8A Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 49.128 183.195 24  zzzz
11 22A Dave Blaney Toyota 49.239 182.782 17
12 25A Casey Mears Chevy 49.262 182.697 17
13 60B Boris Said Ford 49.276 182.645 8
14 44B Dale Jarrett Toyota 49.284 182.615 20
15 88B Ricky Rudd Ford 49.336 182.423 6
16 60A Boris Said Ford 49.340 182.408 17
17 14 Sterling Marlin Chevy 49.342 182.400 17
18 41X Reed Sorenson Dodge 49.392 182.216 17
19 14X Sterling Marlin Chevy 49.397 182.197 17
20 7A P.J. Jones Ford 49.298 182.194 8
21 96A Tony Raines Chevy 49.405 182.168 8
22 16B Greg Biffle Ford 49.409 182.153 6
23 8B Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 49.410 182.149 3
24 66 Jeff Green Chevy 49.419 182.116 16
25 29 Kevin Harvick Chevy 49.420 182.113 8
26 10B Scott Riggs Dodge 49.483 181.881 12
27 13B Joe Nemechek Chevy 49.514 181.767 8
28 43B Bobby Labonte Dodge 49.535 181.690 9
29 26B Jamie McMurray Ford 49.536 181.686 8
30 13B Joe Nemechek Chevy 49.544 181.657 14
31 10A Scott Riggs Dodge 49.599 181.455 12
32 1A Martin Truex Jr. Chevy 49.612 181.408 18
33 1B Martin Truex Jr. Chevy 49.642 181.298 9
34 83B Brian Vickers Toyota 49.688 181.130 2
35 9A Kasey Kahne Dodge 49.701 181.083 12
36 37 Bill Elliott Dodge 49.704 181.072 8
37 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge 49.750 180.905 5
38 33A Scott Wimmer Chevy 49.755 180.886 18
39 7 P.J. Jones Ford 49.789 180.763 5
40 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge 49.790 180.759 15
41 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 49.808 180.694 5
42 4 Eric McClure Chevy 49.846 180.556 18
43 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 49.864 180.491 9
44 25 Casey Mears Chevy 49.882 180.426 5
45 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota 49.887 180.408 7
46 29 Kevin Harvick Chevy 50.033 179.881 5
47 9B Kasey Kahne Dodge 50.253 179.094 6

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