On Day 1 of the final 2012 test for the new sixth-generation race car, the drivers had their say as they turned laps around the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. Wednesday, it was the crew chiefs’ turn. Enthusiasm for the design and performance of the new car extends beyond just the drivers.
“This car is the perfect example of technology helping our sport,”said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet. “I think we now have three makes out here that my little boy at nine-years old can tell the difference between. I think that is the goal – that anybody can walk through the parking lot and see a Chevy, a Ford and a Toyota and know that they are different. That’s really what it comes down to – if you’re into racing you want to watch cool cars go around the track. I think the simple fact is in 2013 we have cooler cars.”
The look of the new sixth-generation car has been a hit and so has the performance of the new car. Drivers experienced speeds on Tuesday that have the potential to break the current qualifying record at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as the speed chart topped the 193-mile-per-hour range.
“It felt fast and I knew where my throttle was, so I knew it was as fast as I have ever been around this track” said Kasey Kahne. “I just think this car goes around the corner quicker.”
Fresh off his trip to Germany and Kuwait with the USO, Joey Logano is beginning to get used to his new surroundings, and it never hurts to have current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski as your new teammate with Penske Racing.
“He won the championship, so he’s pretty good” joked Logano. “It’s really cool to have a teammate that’s a student of the sport, who really studies it and will push me to do things differently. I think the coolest thing that Brad is able to do is he’s able to think outside of the box – like way outside the box.”
After potential record-breaking speeds throughout both test sessions, rain cut the afternoon short. Teams will have two more open tests before the beginning of the 2013 season starting with Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway Jan. 10-12.
The sixth-generation car will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway Jan. 17-18, when the teams will have their final opportunity to test the car before Speedweeks in Daytona.