Trucks conclude two-day test at Daytona International Speedway
By Chris Knight
NASCAR Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Despite a damp race track and a leery forecast that sent a number of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series packing and heading north on Tuesday morning, four teams remained for the final day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway.
Trucks were able to roll onto the 2.5-mile superspeedway shortly before 12:45 p.m. (ET) to log additional data as they prepare for next month’s season-opener, the NextEra Energy Resources 250 onFriday, Feb. 21.
The teams of FDNY Racing (Ryan Ellis), Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing (Jennifer Jo Cobb) and ThorSport Racing (Ross Chastain/Matt Crafton/Johnny Sauter) elected to use the afternoon to finesse their trucks, which have new body styles implemented by NASCAR for the 2014 season.
The ThorSport Racing trio led Tuesday afternoon’s session in a tight three-pack drafting group with defending Daytona race winner Johnny Sauter atop the board, reigning truck series champion Crafton second and Chastain third. Ellis and Cobb rounded out the top five respectively, both in single-truck runs. Sauter’s best lap came early at 183.921 miles per hour, significantly slower than the fastest lap produced yesterday.
Jeb Burton, starting his second season, ended up leading the two-day test’s speed chart with a 191.144 mph lap Monday afternoon in the draft, ahead of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East graduate and Daytona Beach native Ben Kennedy. John Wes Townley, in his new ride for Wauters Motorsports, was third followed by Crafton and Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Darrell Wallace Jr.
Despite some unknowns of the new body styles in the garage area, the initial feedback from most teams were positive.
“We just need to work on a few things and they (ThorSport) want to be better, so I gladly stayed and helped,” said Chastain, who hopes to return to Speedweeks with the team next month in a third entry. “We’re just trying to work on the new rules package and these new bodies, trying to be ready for when it comes race time. I think we’ve already learned something today that will definitely help. The trucks feel real good out there, which should make it a good race come February.”
In all, 15 teams and 20 drivers participated in the test.
The NextEra Energy Resources 250 is the first of 22 races on the 2014 NCWTS calendar and will air live on FOX Sports 1, Friday, Feb. 21 beginning at 6:30 p.m.