After day two’s carnage, day three was quite calm on the track. All cars made single car runs and finished off their checklists’. Most of the teams still in Daytona were frightened by the ten car wreck on Friday and didn’t draft at all today. Day three of Pre-Season Thunder will likely be the final quiet day in Daytona for the next month.
The morning session featured all teams making final runs and collecting some more data. No cars dared to draft with fear of incident. Matt Kenseth was atop the leader board once the morning session concluded. Danica Patrick was atop the leader board for the most of the session but Kenseth showed some more muscle and ran a faster lap towards the end of the morning session.
Kenseth Strong in First Visit to Daytona with JGR
Matt Kenseth was surprisingly strong in his first trip to Daytona with his new team, Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth was atop the leader board in multiple sessions and he was strong in the little drafting the team did. Toyota is on an even playing field for the first time since they entered the sport in 2007 due to the new car. Toyota and its teams have a chance to learn and adapt to the new car just as the other manufacturers do compared to when Toyota was behind with the COT car for much of their first five years in NASCAR. Kenseth is already helping out Toyota and JGR so look for Kenseth to be strong once SpeedWeeks arrives.
Kyle Busch Re-Signs with JGR
According to reports, Kyle Busch has re-signed a multiple year contract with Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch was scheduled to be a free agent after the 2013 season but JGR and Busch agreed to a new contract prior to the 2013 season. Busch wasn’t expected to go anywhere since he has great partnerships with Toyota and M&M’s but that doesn’t mean Busch didn’t briefly explore other options. Busch and JGR are expected to announce the re-singing during JGR’s pre-season media tour date of January 24th.
The final session of Daytona Testing was quite calm and quiet, much like the morning session. Most teams including Danica Patrick’s and Tony Stewart’s packed up and left Daytona prior to the conclusion of the session. Many teams just finalized collecting any data they needed to and started preparing for the trip back to Charlotte. Greg Biffle had the fastest time in the session and the fastest time of the day.
Lots of questions were answered in the past three days of Daytona testing but so many more arose. The new Gen 6 car gave some teams a few headaches during Pre-Season Thunder but overall they learned a lot about the car and are much more informed on how the car will run when we return to Daytona for SpeedWeeks. The fans rejoiced once the cars returned to the high banks of Daytona for testing but testing ends with fans wanting more and more. The smell of a new season is in the air and everyone is pumped up for the season to come. Pre-Season Thunder was just the fix of racing fans needed as the long off-season draws to a close.
By Jason Schultz