Car Of Tomorrow Tackles Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. - NASCAR's "Car of Tomorrow" was on track Monday at Talladega Superspeedway as 13 drivers including Juan Pablo Montoya and Ricky Rudd shook down the new design on the newly-repaved track.

Single car runs were part of the morning session with a drafting test taking up most of the afternoon as drivers got a taste of the new design for the first time on NASCAR's longest superspeedway.

"You know, this is our third superspeedway test," said NEXTEL Cup Series director John Darby. "We have already established the fact that the cars drive really nicely at these kinds of racetracks, they perform pretty well in the draft so it’s more of a detail test."

Greg Biffle was one of the Roush Racing drivers taking part in the test and feels there's still some work to be done in getting the new car race ready as some teams are far ahead of others.

"Our cars are still kind of all over the map," Biffle said. "Jimmie Johnson’s car is roughly about a second faster than our car right now. We don’t know why, we just have to work on it and try and get it better. So obviously it’s going to be tough to keep up with him."

Biffle's Roush teammate Jamie McMurray said Talladega's new pavement made it tough to compare how the new COT drove compared to the NEXTEL Cup machine he piloted in Sunday's UAW-Ford 500.

"This isn’t a good place to compare because we could run probably 215 mph around here and it would feel good," McMurray said. "It just has so much grip right now, it is so smooth. So it is probably not a fair comparison here."

Veteran Ricky Rudd took part in the test, shaking down a Toyota for Wyler Racing, which is looking to field a car for Rudd in 16 races next season pending sponsorship.

Rudd was impressed with the experience, especially Talladega's new racing surface.

"I’m enjoying it," Rudd said. "I don’t know if I’m enjoying (the COT) or the new racetrack surface. The track has got a lot of grip, it’s really smooth compared to last time – last year at this time when I was at Talladega it was pretty rough.

Montoya was interested in how the new car worked in the draft after his stock car debut and experience in Friday's ARCA race at Talladega.

"It was something and interesting watching guys in front of you move around out there," Montoya said. "Overall though it's been a good weekend here for me...I've enjoyed it."

Other teams that particpated included Dave Blaney (Michael Waltrip Racing), Jeff Green (Haas), Mike Skinner (Red Bull), Joe Nemechek (MB2), Scott Riggs (Evernham), Kerry Earnhardt (DEI), Clint Bowyer (RCR), Carl Edwards (Roush) and Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick).

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