Tuesday, January 08, 2013

MWR Confident Heading To Daytona Test

After completing its most successful season in 2012, Michael Waltrip Racing’s three Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are ready to start 2013 with the annual three-day Daytona Preseason Thunder test at Daytona International Speedway. Beginning Thursday, the test will highlight the first drafting opportunities for the new-look Gen-6 production-modeled racers, prior to their competition debut in the 55th annual Daytona 500. 

MWR executive vice president of competition Scott Miller said drivers Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin will all take part in this week’s test, in an attempt to lessen the steep learning curve with the Gen-6 car with only weeks before the Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing. Sprint Cup teams will also test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Jan. 17-18. 

We need to go down there and start to understand the 2013 package,” said Miller. “We need to understand how to gain speed, keep the cars cool in the draft... and how the 2013 cars work. We hardly have any miles on them. This car is a whole new beast for us. Daytona is going to be an exploratory test.  

Miller said MWR has “a big list of things” to try while in Daytona. “We will spend a lot of time on single car runs and try and optimize our qualifying package,” he said. “We will spend minimal time drafting, since our car count is very low. However, drafting is important because we need to understand the cooling and the drivability of the cars in a pack.” 

Miller said he is confident the team can continue to improve on a team-best performance in 2012.  

“We have the capability to improve,” he said. “We developed a process last season to get from Point A to Point B and we found a lot of success with the process. We will use the same process to help us with the development of the 2013 car. Toyota Racing Development is working really hard on the engines to give us more reliability and more power. MWR is working really hard on the development of the 2013 car. I think we can elevate our program this season and compete for a championship again.”  

In addition to watching Daytona Preseason Thunder testing from the Sprint FANZONE, fans can meet all three MWR drivers. Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr. will appear as part of Daytona FanFest at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, with Clint Bowyer scheduled to appear at 7:30. Bowyer, Waltrip and MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman also tested a Ferrari last weekend in Daytona in preparation of the 51st annual Rolex 24 on Jan. 26.

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