Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 9/1/14

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 21: Michael Waltrip, driver of the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, leans on his car prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2009 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
CORNELIUS, N.C. — After completing its most successful season in 2012, the three Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota teams are ready to start the 2013 season with the annual three-day Daytona Preseason Thunder test at Daytona International Speedway. Highlighting the test that begins Thursday will be the drafting of the new-look Gen-6 production modeled racers that make their competition debut in the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 24 Scott Miller, the team’s executive vice president of competition, said MWR drivers Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin will drive in this week’s test. Teams face a huge learning curve with the Gen-6 and only weeks before the Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing at Daytona. The Sprint Cup teams will also test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Jan. 17-18. Scott Miller, MWR’s executive vice president of competition: “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. We just need to start to understand how the 2013 cars work. We hardly have any miles on them. This car is a whole new beast for us. Daytona is going to be an exploratory test. There are a lot of things we are going to test down there.” MWR’s Testing Plan: “We have a big list of things we will try while we are in Daytona. 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. However, drafting is important because we need to understand the cooling and the drivability of the cars in a pack.” Maintaining Performance in 2013: “We have the capability to improve on our success from last season. We developed a process last season to get from point A to point B and we found a lot of success with the process. We will use the same process to help us with the development of the 2013 car. Toyota Racing Development is working really hard on the engines to give us more reliability and more power. MWR is working really hard on the development of the 2013 car. I think we can elevate our program this season and compete for a championship again.” FAN FEST: All three MWR drivers will participate in the Daytona Preseason Thunder Fan Fest – the companion event to the January test sessions. Along with watching Daytona Preseason Thunder track activity from the Sprint FANZONE, fans can enjoy Fan Fest on Thursday from 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr. will appear at 5:30 p.m. and Clint Bowyer at 7:30 p.m. ROLEX 24: Bowyer, Waltrip and MWR Co-owner Rob Kauffman tested a Ferrari last weekend in Daytona in preparation of the 51st annual Rolex 24 on Jan. 26. CHASSIS INFORMATION: No. 56 Primary— 748 No. 15 Primary— 749 No. 55 Primary— 747
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