January 16, 2012
MWR 2012 Preseason Thunder Test
DAYTONA, Fla. – Michael Waltrip Racing completed the three-day Preseason Thunder test at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday afternoon. The test is in preparation for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 26.
MWR drivers Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin practiced both single-lap qualifying runs as well as drafting in packs. Speeds reached as high as 206 mph when the cars raced together on the 2.5 mile tri-oval.
Martin, driver of the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota, said he was pleased with the test as well as Tuesday and Wednesday’s MWR test on the short track at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway.
“This was a great week for myself and Clint, who are new to this organization. We wanted to learn all the guys and how they do things here. I really like what we accomplished at New Smyrna and at Daytona.”
Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, said the test is as much to help NASCAR determine a rules package as for the teams to learn about their cars. NASCAR experimented with restrictor plate, radiator opening and rear spoiler sizes throughout the test.
“We're down here to learn -- that helps NASCAR figure out what they need to do to take the appropriate actions,” said Bowyer.
Truex, driver of the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, said no matter what rule package, Daytona action will be as exciting as it’s ever been.
“We're almost pushing the limits of the grip, so it's going to get interesting with a lot of cars out there. You really have to be smooth pushing, so it's definitely going to be exciting for sure."
All three MWR drivers plus owner Michael Waltrip participated in the NASCAR Fan Fest events on Thursday night that included fan forums, autograph sessions and media events.
The drivers and Waltrip will appear at the 2012 NASCAR Preview Presented By Sprint on Saturday Jan. 21. The Preview at the Charlotte Convention Center is an all-day, behind-the-scenes pass into the world of NASCAR complete with driver autographs, Q&A sessions, team and sponsor displays and more. Fans can purchase tickets for only $10 in advance. Tickets at the door will cost $15. Doors open at 7 a.m.