NASCAR

Hard to argue with Stewart for skipping Daytona test

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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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There will be a lot of different agendas at the Daytona test. The new driver/crew chief combinations will break the ice and learn how to communicate with each other and the team. It's where you start to make that magic happen.
Daytona testing: Jan. 9-11
  • Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet
  • Scott Wimmer, No. 4 Auto-Exhaust Chevrolet
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet
  • Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Dodge
  • Ryan Newman, No. 12 Alltel Dodge
  • Greg Sacks, No. 13 Dodge
  • Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DeWalt Ford
  • Jeremy Mayfield, No. 19 Dodge
  • Mike McLaughlin, No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet
  • Ken Schrader, No. 21 Motorcraft/Air Force Ford
  • Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet
  • Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet
  • Bill Elliott, No. 36 MB2 Motorsports Chevrolet
  • Elliott Sadler, No. 38 M&M's Ford
  • David Stremme, No. 40 Coors Light Dodge
  • Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Target Dodge
  • Bobby Labonte, No. 43 Cheerios Dodge
  • Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet
  • With my two Craftsman Truck teams in 2004, we went to Lakeland, Fla. before the Daytona test race to try to figure out that communication going as well as sort out new vehicles. The Ford and Chevrolet teams will try to sort out a new race car — the new Ford Fusion and the new Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Then you're trying to accomplish two things. You want to see how fast you can make your race car because Daytona is about speed, not only in qualifying but also in the race. At the end of the day, though, a good handling race car wins the Daytona 500. During part of one of the three days of testing, teams will get together and draft with each other because that's the configuration that you're going to have to be in once qualifying is over.
    Speed Mail Larry
    Can I argue with Tony Stewart's decision to skip Daytona testing last year? I can't because he led over half the Daytona 500 after winning the Busch race and his Gatorade Duel 150. Then he went back there in July, sat on the pole, led all but nine laps and won the Nextel Cup race. How can you argue with those results? Do I agree with a driver not testing Daytona? I do not. It's the Super Bowl and the most important race of the year. How you do there — whether it's because of performance, good luck or bad luck — sets the tone for the beginning of the season. Again, I can't argue with the results that the No. 20 team, crew chief Greg Zipadelli and Tony Stewart had in the two Daytona races last year, but I still don't totally agree with my driver not being there for one of the most important tests of the year.


    FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.

    "How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.

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