NASCAR

Second Daytona test is a second chance for some teams

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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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When I worked at Richard Childress Racing we had two teams, and it was always very nice if one team went to the first test and one team went to the second test. If we learned anything significant, the engine shop, aero shop or the chassis shop could make a change and verify it for the second test. When both teams went to the first test, it felt like we were painted in a box.
SPEED Channel testing recap shows
  • Jan. 15, 7 p.m. ET: Craftsman Truck testing from Daytona
  • Jan. 16, 7 p.m. ET: Nextel Cup testing from Daytona
  • Jan. 17, 6:30 p.m. ET: Nextel Cup testing from Daytona
  • Jan. 18, 6:30 p.m. ET: Nextel Cup testing from Daytona
  • Jan. 22, 7 p.m. ET: Busch testing from Daytona
  • Feb. 1, 7 p.m. ET: Nextel Cup testing from Las Vegas
  • At Daytona, most teams are verifying the work they have done in the off-season, building new chassis and cars. They've probably been in the wind tunnel a few times and spent a lot of time on the engine and chassis dyno. They just want to make sure the information that they gathered at different proving grounds was correct. Even though the templates give you a very small space to work in, you can put a piece between the templates or get a front fender or quarterpanel shape to show better in the wind tunnel. You want to go to the racetrack and make sure it's better. A lot of times when you see parts and pieces going on and off during a Daytona test, teams are working outside of the rules to see how the car would respond and determine if we should focus on or think about a certain area.
    Speed Mail Larry
    Even though the engine rules are pretty tight, changing combinations can make a difference. Maybe it's a different rod length or a different camshaft. You want to try to run two or more combinations, and they need that information fast so they can go home and build engines to be ready in less than a month. A lot can be found in header and tailpipe combinations. A lot of these combinations have been tried on the chassis dyno, butyou've got to verify them at the racetrack. Last Monday night, Benny Parsons did an interesting radio interview with Tony Stewart. One of the No. 20 cars that Mike McLaughlin tested was the same chassis that led more than half of the Daytona 500 and annihilated the field in July, winning from the pole and leading all but nine laps. Crew chief Greg Zipadelli was very careful with the car, only changing the parts they had to change to the new 2006 Monte Carlo. Stewart said they've been to the wind tunnel with that car several times, and they tested it at the track to make sure it's still as good or better than it was last year. Even though these teams have been to the wind tunnel over and over since last season ended, it may be the first time a lot of them have actually hit the racetrack with the new Fusion and Monte Carlo. Of course, everyone is anxiously anticipating the Las Vegas test at the end of the month because it's a downforce racetrack, and that's where everybody noticed that the new Dodge Chargers weren't quite as good as we thought they were.


    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.

    Tagged: Mike McLaughlin

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