Wallace gains valuable experience in Daytona testing
Steve Wallace at Daytona
NASCAR preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway concluded this afternoon and for Steve Wallace (No. 77 5-Hour Energy Toyota), the three-day test session provided valuable experience in advance of his Sprint Cup Series debut in next month's Daytona 500.
Said Wallace, "We definitely still have a lot of speed left to find, but one of the biggest things that came out of the test was the experience that I gained drafting in a Cup car. It's definitely a lot different than drafting in the old Nationwide Series car.
"We spent a lot of time drafting with guys like Tony Stewart, AJ Allmendinger and Brian Vickers; I want to thank all of those guys for their help. I really learned a lot about how to push guys and how to get pushed in a two-car draft like they've had with the Cup cars lately. There's definitely a technique to it that most people don't realize.
"It's incredible how fast the two-car draft is; we were almost 20 miles per hour faster in one of those than in qualifying trim. A lot of people are even saying that you're going to see a race of 20 different two-car drafts down here in February. I don't know if I'd go that far, but it's definitely going to play a huge role in both the Cup and Nationwide races."
The best lap of the week for Wallace's 5-Hour Energy and Aspen Dental-backed team came in Saturday's AM session, when he posted an average speed of 195.274 MPH while in a two-car draft with AJ Allmendinger. That lap placed Wallace sixth-fastest in the session. With that said, the 23 year-old is far from content and admits that his team still has quite a bit of speed to find before next month's race.
Wallace noted, "While I learned a lot about drafting down here, I also learned that we have to work really hard on our cars before we come back here. We definitely weren't as fast by ourselves as we need to be. With this program coming together so quickly, we just didn't have time before the test to do the fine details that make these speedway cars fast. We didn't even have time to get either one of our cars in the wind tunnel. Now that we're through the test, our guys are going to be working around the clock every day to make these cars the very best we can.
"We definitely learned a lot this week and we're going to be in the wind tunnel with both our cars as much as we possibly can before the race; we'll decide then which one will be our primary car. The car we had this weekend was an older RCR car that we converted to a Toyota. The other car, which just finished being converted this week, is a Ganassi car that was Montoya's backup speedway car last year; we all know how well the Ganassi cars ran on speedways. We'll take everything we learned this week and incorporate it into both cars before we come down here for the race. I'm confident that we'll pick up quite a bit on our cars.
"The speed isn't just in the car though, it's the total package. We didn't have the same engine package as we will for the race and we feel like we still have to gain in terms of horsepower. The guys at Triad Racing Technologies have told us that they're really committed to this program and I know they'll be working 24/7 every day over the next few weeks to find all the power they can before we come back down here."
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