Quotes from testing in Fontana SPEED closed out NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing Friday at California Speedway with a special aired from pit road. John Roberts hosted the program with analysis from Jeff Hammond and Bob Dillner. With off-season testing now complete, SPEED turns its attention to 100 hours of NASCAR on SPEED HD from Daytona Speedweeks beginning Feb. 7. Following are excerpts from Friday’s show, including interviews with Reed Sorenson, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, Carl Edward, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, JJ Yeley and Jeff Gordon.
Reed Sorenson: We worked on a lot of stuff today with our bump stops on the front end and helped out the car quite a bit. But I think we’ve still got quite a bit of work to do to catch those guys. I felt like we earned more today than we did in two days at Vegas and did yesterday. We had a good day today.
Jamie McMurray: All of the cars were pretty good and our engineering department has really stepped it up with the Car of Tomorrow and the simulation program. I think Carl (Edwards) really had the best car of our group but all five cars are fast.
Jeff Burton: I think we learned a lot but the key is going back and applying what we learned so we can come back and be a touch better. I’m pretty happy with it. I think the track started getting slick and it’s going to get really difficult. But that’s what is fun and I hope it gets like that. As long as it’s difficult for everybody and not just me, it will be good.
Kyle Busch: We’ve accomplished a lot and gone through a lot of things. All three teams are trying different stuff and we used each other’s stuff on our cars and made ourselves go faster. It’s a useful test and we were able to help each other out a lot both here and at Vegas. Having the Nationwide car at the test yesterday was pretty helpful, too.
Carl Edwards: This place changes with temperature as much as or more than any place we go to. Testing at night was very good for us. It’s going to be extremely tough for Bob and the engineers to get everything worked out where you can run a second faster at night and still have the car handle well. It’s going to be very tough.
Kevin Harvick: With us, it was more of getting everyone home to get their weekend and enjoy that. It’s the last one for a while. That was the main factor in that (packing up early). I think the track will be a little bit different than it was today and the conditions we’ll be racing in. We had two days in these conditions and everyone will be home so hopefully they’ll get rested and ready to go.
Jimmie Johnson: It’s been a struggle to get the car and the tires or something to respond right here. It’s been a struggle really for all four cars. We feel like we’re making some ground on it but there are still a lot of question marks right now. It’s just not reacting and doing the things it did at Las Vegas.
We’ve been in this situation before where we have frustrating test sessions. You go home and everybody thinks about it and brainstorms and you end up coming up with something better. We’ll be fine, we’ll be competitive but I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t frustrated with the California test.
JJ Yeley: Everything we learned here today was bad, so we learned the things not to do when we come back in a month. We just really struggled. The car was never stable like we wanted it to be and we struggled to get the car to turn in the center. It was definitely a learning experience coming here to California.
Jeff Gordon Quotes:
Dillner: Coming into this season, how hungry does the disappointment of finishing second in the Chase last year make you?
Jeff Gordon: We sucked it up. You’ve got to applaud the job that Jimmie and the No. 48 team did. I was so proud of Steve and our guys and we had a fantastic year. You can’t be too disappointed with second.
Dillner: Are you getting a good sense of how it’s going to be the rest of the year out of these tests?
Gordon: We’re getting a sense for it. Mainly, we’re getting a sense for what the car needs and how it’s driving. You don’t know what to expect at big tracks like Las Vegas and California. My car has been driving really good. I’m very happy with it and we’ve just been fine-tuning. You get your eye on the competition and see how fast they’re running. It’s going to be a tough, tough year and a competitive one but I am very happy with where our team is now.