Testing and adaptation continues in Daytona.
TRAVIS GEISLER (Competition Director, Penske Racing) HOW DID THE TEST GO FOR THE TWO PENSKE DODGES? “I think overall it was really important for our teams to come down here and work for three days. Certainly, there have been some changes on the 22 team with A. J. Allmendinger and Todd Gordon coming on-board. For that team, it was important to start working together. It was the first time that we had that group at-track working together. I’m happy with how Brad and A.J. have been able to work on-track and learn how to race with each other. How they work with each other is something that we have to be prepared for when we come back here for the 500. I think that’s all been good. We’ve been working through all the new rules package changes with PRV (pressure relief valve) and water pressure stuff. I know that NASCAR is working really hard to try and put the best show on that they can for the fans and we’re all here trying to help show them what their changes are doing and let them know some direction on what we think will help us put the best show on.”
DO YOU HAVE A COMFORTABLE BASELINE WITH THE ENGINE COOLING PACKAGE HEADING INTO THE DAYTONA 500? “I’d say in general that we have a comfortable baseline, but we’ve changed our pressure settings and grill tape opening three or four times now. It’s hard to really say what we have or comfortable with because we don’t know exactly what it’s going to be. We’re comfortable with how the changes affect our performance and what we need to do to adapt. When we come back here next month, there will probably be a little different package again and we’ll have to adapt from what we’ve learned the last three days of testing. I think we’ll be in good shape.”
HOW WILL THE RULES PACKAGE AFFECT THE RACING THAT MUCH? “I think that we’ll see a considerable difference from what we had at Daytona last year when the guys got the two-car tandem really refined. We’re drastically limited on how long you can push. You’ll still see two-car tandem racing. I’d be surprised if you don’t see at some point in the race that drivers will hook-up for a lap or so and try to gain some speed. It won’t be the story that dominates the race like it has in the past.”
HOW MANY LAPS CAN YOU RUN IN A TWO-CAR DRAFT WITH THE NEW RULES PACKAGE? “It all depends on which package we’re talking about. We’ve run so many different packages here that (its) varied from one lap to four laps. How that all goes and what we come back to the 500 with, I’d say we’ll be closer to one or less laps given what NASCAR decides to go with.”
WERE THERE ANY ISSUES WITH THE ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTION (EFI) DURING THE TEST? “I’d say we’re in pretty good shape. Just like anything, you have your learning curve and we’re working through it. We’ve learned a bunch of things about EFI. Overall evaluation of the performance is difficult down here because everybody is on different agendas. Until we show up and race and everyone brings their “A” game to the table, it’s hard to say. I think we’re OK where we are with EFI. We’re working on it. Anytime there is a big rule change, the biggest margins for gains are right at the beginning. Once you get past a rule change, everybody has refined it so far that the gains become small. We know that there are big steps in understanding EFI. Dodge has helped us out a ton with their engineering resources. It’s a learning process for sure.”
Day Three Practice Results - Final Session NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona Pre-Season Thunder Daytona International Speedway January 14, 2012
1. Jeff Gordon 44.874 sec. 200.562 mph
2. A.J. Allmendinger 44.877 sec. 200.548 mph
3. Brad Keselowski 44.877 sec. 200.548 mph
4. Kasey Kahne
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Joey Logano
7. Martin Truex Jr.
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Juan Pablo Montoya
10. Jamie McMurray
* A total of 26 cars took to the track, including both Penske Dodges for this afternoon's final session.
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