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NASCAR PRESEASON THUNDER TESTING


January 12, 2014


Wayne Auton

Robin Pemberton


MATT HUMPHREY:  We will continue on with this afternoon availability with Nationwide Series director Wayne Auton and NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton.  Wayne, if you could start us off talking about what you've observed for the first practice sessions in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
WAYNE AUTON:  We need some minimal changes to the cars, speaking to the drivers in the garage area, to put a little bit more feel back in the car for them.  What we've heard so far, haven't seen anybody give me a thumbs down.  It's always been a thumbs up so far.  They like the feel of the car.  Most of them have been in a draft.  I think there's only a couple of them that haven't been in a draft yet, and we're hearing that they're going to go early this afternoon, probably start right off the bat at 1:00.
What we've observed is exactly what we thought that we would see learning from the Gen‑6 car in the Cup garage to make a couple changes to help the drivers be able to race and do a whole lot better job.¬† As you heard Trevor say, that he really feels like this is one of the best cars that he's ever sat in and driven here, and obviously as he said he's never driven a truck, and if you hear the truck guys, some of them will say the same thing.
I think we're pretty pleased with what we've seen so far and what we've heard from the drivers.
MATT HUMPHREY:  Robin, your thoughts on the testing so far?
ROBIN PEMBERTON:  It was good to see everybody get out there and get right to the drafting part of it.  I think guys are pretty anxious to see how their cars react with the cooling systems and the spoiler changes.  I'm really pleased with the test.  I mean, I think everybody has done a nice job.  Our conversations that we've had with the drivers the other morning and Wayne working through the garage area, getting good feedback, it looks like a good effort on everybody's part to do all the right things out there.  It looked really nice.

Q.  Wayne, could you share with fans what you feel the importance of testing is?  A lot of times they don't realize how much testing goes on, number one, and how important that is, and perhaps have your expectations been fulfilled this week?
WAYNE AUTON:  Well, it's been a while since we even did a Daytona test.  Economics.  From the teams we didn't make any changes to the cars the last couple years once we got to the new car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and with the changes that we made to the rear spoiler and the rear spring and the cooling system, we talked to the teams and everybody felt like it would be beneficial to get some time on the racetrack before they come back to run one of our most important races of the year.  Anytime you're tied in with the Daytona 500 you want to put forth your best effort, whether you're racing on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
With the changes that we made to the car, we felt like this was a good opportunity for the drivers to get acclimated to it, and gives the teams a whole lot of data because they've all got data acquisition out there on the cars this week which they usually can't do that they definitely couldn't use whenever they come back for Speedweeks when we come.
I'll tell you what, I'm excited to watch these young drivers and the veterans in the cars.¬† Trevor Bayne is a veteran now in the garage area, and you talk to Elliott Sadler and you talk to these young guys, some of them have driven the cars, James Buescher, champion of Camping World Truck Series won here at Daytona in Nationwide Series race.¬† The difference he feels in this car, he feels this car is a whole lot better‑‑ this is him talking to me, he feels like this car is better but he was so glad he got to come down here to do the testing so he could get acclimated before we come back, and he feels like the new team that he's with is definitely going to be a contender all year?

Q.  I know it hasn't been formally announced yet, but do the teams have a good idea of what qualifying is going to be like so they know how to use the draft to their advantage when it comes to qualifying?
WAYNE AUTON:¬† They know we are not going to run single‑car qualifying.

Q.  That's all they know?
WAYNE AUTON:  That's all they know.
ROBIN PEMBERTON:  So don't go bugging them and asking them.
WAYNE AUTON:¬† I think they're reading between the lines, but definitely no single‑car qualifying in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Q.  Robin, if we can kind of look ahead to the next couple of days in terms of the trucks, could you comment on how the progress has been with the development of the new truck bodies and what you guys hope to achieve and work on in the next couple days, as well?
ROBIN PEMBERTON:  Well, it's the first change we've had in quite some time to the Camping World Truck Series.  The development and everything went as smooth as could be expected throughout the summer, kind of went under the radar we had so many other things going on that people really didn't know we were working on it.
But the manufacturers worked very hard just like they have in the last two vehicles that we've brought online with the product relevance and the trucks look really nice, look a lot closer to what they're selling.  We expect that we'll have another good couple of days of testing, even though it is a new truck there are some rule changes with the cooling system that we've brought online that we had in Cup and now in Nationwide.
Guys will just have to learn the characteristics of running a truck at the superspeedways, because as we discussed the other day, the opportunity for the drafting and the side drafting will be a little bit different because the vehicle is so much different than what they had.  So they'll be going to school on that.

Q.  Robin, I realize that every situation is different and things happen out on the track, but regarding the tandem drafting ruling that you all have been talking about, the penalty being someone being black flagged if they're hooked up like that.  Say that happens on the last lap of the race or the last two laps of the race, and typically when you're shown the black flag you have X number of laps to respond.  How do you react to a situation such as that?
ROBIN PEMBERTON:¬† Well, we have the ability to just not score the lap or time penalty post‑race.¬† That's been there all along.¬† I think you can remember far enough back, I believe a team penalty was imposed on maybe Ricky Rudd or somebody at Sears Point a long time ago, and so we have that ability.
You know, the rule that‑‑ the unwritten rule that you get three laps from getting a black flag, it really doesn't hold water.¬† I mean, we only give them that, and that started back in the day when people a lot of times didn't even have radios.¬† So that's just kind of‑‑ it's the unwritten rule.
But we expect teams that get the black flag to immediately obey the order from the tower, and we do have the ability to fix the scoring when it's over with.
MATT HUMPHREY:  Gentlemen, thank you for joining us here in the media center today, and good luck with the rest of the test.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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