Trucks to test new body style at Daytona
January 12, 2014, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams will take the wraps off their new-look vehicles Monday, meaning school will be in session for the final segment of NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing.
When the teams hit Daytona International Speedway's high banks for the first time this year, it will be the first official test for the new truck body style. Fans received a sneak peek at the new look when Toyota unveiled its 2014 Tundra at the NASCAR Contenders Live event in Chicago last September. Chevrolet's revamped Silverado and Ford's new F-150 race trucks will make their debuts Monday.
NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said the new race truck designs will more closely resemble the look of their street counterparts, mimicking the brand identity-driven move of NASCAR's premier series to its showroom-savvy sixthgeneration of race car.
Teams know how the truck looks. Monday, they'll find out how they'll race on NASCAR's biggest tracks.
"Guys will just have to learn the characteristics of running a truck at the superspeedways, because as we discussed the other day, the opportunity for the drafting and the side drafting will be a little bit different because the vehicle is so much different than what they had. So they'll be going to school on that."
Nineteen trucks are scheduled to participate in the two-day test session. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch will be among them, driving the No. 51 Toyota from his own race shop. Busch will be splitting time this season with 17-year-old Erik Jones, but the young driver doesn't meet the age requirement to test at 2.5-mile Daytona.
"I get stuck with the duties of that," joked Busch, whose truck team tested in December at Nashville Superspeedway. "Looking forward to getting the truck here, though, and just kind of learning some things, seeing what the aero package is like, besides the time we spent with it in Nashville."
Pemberton said bringing the new truck to reality has been a diligent, collaborative effort with teams and manufacturers. The two-day test will likely involve as much learning for NASCAR as it will for drivers and crews.
"It's the first change we've had in quite some time to the Camping World Truck Series, Pemberton said. "The development and everything went as smooth as could be expected throughout the summer, kind of went under the radar we had so many other things going on that people really didn't know we were working on it. But the manufacturers worked very hard just like they have in the last two vehicles that we've brought online with the product relevance and the trucks look really nice, look a lot closer to what they're selling.
"We expect that we'll have another good couple of days of testing, even though it is a new truck, there are some rule changes with the cooling system that we've brought online that we had in (Sprint) Cup and now in Nationwide."
Testing is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET each day with a one-hour break (noon-1 p.m.) for lunch.