DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Like many Sprint Cup Series teams, Michael Waltrip Racing faces a bit of a quandary this week at Daytona International Speedway.
The organization wants to do what it can to build on its 2012 success, when Clint Bowyer finished as runner-up to series champion Brad Keselowski.
To do that, it needs to get a handle on the Cup cars to debut this season — cars that have not had much testing.
“We need to go down there and start to understand the 2013 package. We need to understand how to gain speed and to keep the cars cool in the draft,” said Scott Miller, MWR’s executive vice president of competition.
“This car is a whole new beast for us.”
There is a problem.
A late start to building the 2013 model has left many teams with few completed cars. While teams need to focus on qualifying and race conditions, the lack of inventory makes some question the value of drafting sessions.
“We will spend a lot of time on single-car runs and try and optimize our qualifying package. We will spend a minimal time drafting since our car count is very low,” Miller said.
“However, drafting is important because we need to understand the cooling and the drivability of the cars in a pack.”
The three-day test will begin at 9 a.m. today. If enough teams are willing, NASCAR officials would like to see teams run under race conditions during the afternoon sessions.