Testing Notebook: Daytona

32955Jpg
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - News and notes from the five-day Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder NASCAR Busch Series testing period at Daytona International Speedway.

McMurray, Busch Fastest
There are still 24 days remaining until the Orbitz 300 on February 17, but following this week’s testing, clear favorites are emerging from the pack.

With a fast lap of 184.219 mph in his primary No. 37 Ford, Jamie McMurray led the single car practices. Just behind him were Ward Burton (183.782 mph), Dave Blaney (183.524), Peter Shepherd – who was filling in for Matt Kenseth (183.434 mph) and Kyle Busch (183.057 mph).

In drafting conditions, Busch led the way with a lap of 187.919 mph on day two. Sam Hornish Jr. (187.833 mph), Blaney (187.782 mph) Robert Richardson (187.727 mph) and Casey Mears (187.309 mph) rounded out the top five fastest speeds for the Busch Series.

While drivers are quick to point out that this is just testing – and that these results don’t matter – keep them in mind when Speedweeks rolls around in February, as practice time for the season opening event will be at a premium for NASCAR Busch Series teams at just under three hours (three-and-a-half for rookie drivers) before qualifying takes place on Friday, February 16.

Casey Mears Does Not Rule Out Full Busch Schedule
Could we see more of Casey Mears in 2006?

Speaking to the media on Sunday afternoon, Mears said that a full Busch season behind the wheel of the No. 24 National Guard Chevrolet – while a longshot – is a possibility.

Mears, who left Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates to join Hendrick Motorsports in the off season, is currently slated to run 22 NASCAR Busch Series races in the No. 24 while running the complete NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season in the No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet.

"I always think in the back of my mind that if we did really well right out of the gate and had a shot to maybe win the championship, that you’d never know what might happen," said Mears. "Not to mislead anybody, because right now our plan is just running those 22 races and we’ll see how it goes. If we are running good, maybe something will change.

"This whole new deal with National Guard is really exciting and I’m getting to do a lot of racing with them this year, so it’s going to be a good time."

A good start to the season wouldn’t be that far out of the realm of possibility, as Mears and teammate Kyle Busch repeatedly posted top five speeds in both single car and drafting sessions during Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder testing.

Toyota’s session
While there is much hoopla surrounding Toyota’s NASCAR incursion, it is interesting to note that next season there are only four Camry’s slated to race full time – three of which tested this week at Daytona.

Perhaps the best situated team following this week’s sessions is Dave Blaney’s No. 32 Braun Racing team. Throughout the organization’s three day test, they had the fastest Toyota on track – setting a single car best of 183.524 mph and a drafting best of 187.782 mph.

Also in attendance was Blaney’s teammate, Jason Leffler, and Michael Waltrip Racing’s David Reutimann.

The only Toyota team that did not make it to Daytona was John Andretti’s No. 10.

Almirola Takes Only Wild Spin of Week
While a number of cars displayed scratches and bent in fenders, only one serious accident took place throughout the Busch test which required the Daytona International Speedway safety team to take action.

On Sunday, Aric Almirola shredded a right rear tire coming off Turn 2 and made contact with Bill Elliott’s No. 9 Dodge Charger – sending him airborne through the back straightaway grass.

"It got loose and got sideways – I don’t know what happened after that. I closed my eyes and when I opened them again all I saw was sparks on the race track," said Almirola, upon his release from the infield care center. "We got upside down and I was fine, I was sliding around and I was talking to my guys on the roof telling them I was fine and then as soon as I hit the grass it just dug in and started flipping.

"I’m just really thankful for all the precautionary measures that NASCAR takes with all its safety equipment because I’m walking back to the trailer, probably going to clean up and go home."

For his part, Elliott’s car suffered mostly body damage to his vehicle.

Besides Almirola’s ride, the only other noteworthy incident came when Rusty Wallace suffered a blown engine when he took the reins of the No. 66 Homelife Communities Dodge Charger on Saturday.

The team changed the engine and Wallace returned to the track at the end of the session so that he could offer advice to Stephen.

Race Center

U.S. Cellular 250

@ Iowa Speedway
Saturday, August 02, 2014 7:30 PM
Radio Start:
MRN, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
TV Start:
ESPN, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

Photos

  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • Ty Dillon Wins at Indy
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • EnjoyIllinois.com 300
  • Sta-Green 200
  • Sta-Green 200
  • Sta-Green 200
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • © 2014 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites