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Positive start for next-gen Cup cars

"When we hand this car off to the teams, it will be in the best shape we've ever handed a car off to the teams to start a new season," said Pemberton.

New regulations mean that the three manufacturers involved - Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota - can style the cars closer to their street car production models. Newly crowned 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski was of the opinion that one of the manufacturers in particular was setting the pace early on.

"I think the Toyotas have shown that they're going to be really, really tough to beat with this new car," said Keselowski. "If I was to venture a guess, I would definitely say that they're at the top of the list.

"I really like the way they finished last year, and for them, I think they have the capability of starting out next year even stronger than the field, so that will be interesting to watch," he added. "But there's still a lot of testing and a lot of development left to be done."

However, the newest of the Toyota drivers - Matt Kenseth - was still finding his feet in the new car, a mis-shift causing his engine to over-rev and require a replacement over the lunch break.

"My fault," admitted Kenseth afterwards. "Everything is different inside there, and I just put it in first gear instead of third and it didn't work out too good. It didn't blow it up, but they just changed it for precautions.

"I think the guys are in love with me right now," he quipped. "'Where did we get this clown? Give us the other one back.' Or something ... Like I said, my guys are real impressed!"

Kenseth admitted that he had been anxious about his first day with a new team, after having spent almost his entire 15-year Cup career with Roush Fenway Racing.

"I've been kind of nervous coming into this morning and walking to a different truck and a different team and all of that stuff," Kenseth agreed. "It was exciting and you're a little anxious when you go do something different

He added, "I couldn't wait to get to the track today and honestly I can't wait to get back in the car here."

Morning session

1. #31 Jeff Burton Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 190.833 mph
2. #29 Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 190.215 mph
3. #27 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 189.934 mph
4. #5 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 189.853 mph
5. #22 Joey Logano Penske Racing Ford 189.321 mph
6. #20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 189.175 mph
7. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 189.122 mph
8. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 189.016 mph
9. #11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 188.580 mph
10. #24 Regan Smith Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 188.449 mph
11. #2 Brad Keselowski Penske Racing Ford 187.891 mph
12. #39 Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 187.435 mph
13. #13 Casey Mears Germain Racing Ford 187.428 mph
14. #47 Bobby Labonte JTG-Daugherty Racing Toyota 185.663 mph
15. #43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 185.516 mph
16. #21 Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Racing Ford 183.286 mph

Afternoon session

1. #24 Regan Smith Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 190.215 mph
2. #11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 189.954 mph
3. #20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 189.927 mph
4. #29 Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 189.587 mph
5. #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 189.567 mph
6. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 189.560 mph
7. #5 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 189.553 mph
8. #27 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 189.056 mph
9. #2 Brad Keselowski Penske Racing Ford 189.036 mph
10. #31 Jeff Burton Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 188.963 mph
11. #22 Joey Logano Penske Racing Ford 188.772 mph
12. #39 Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 187.559 mph
13. #13 Casey Mears Germain Racing Ford 187.448 mph
14. #47 Bobby Labonte JTG-Daugherty Racing Toyota 187.415 mph
15. #43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 187.409 mph
16. #21 Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Racing Ford 183.374 mph




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives the #88 National Guard Chevrolet during testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway on December 11, 2012 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski (R), driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford, talk in the garage area during testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway on December 11, 2012 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman drives the #39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet during testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway on December 11, 2012 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General/Home Depot Toyota, speaks with the media during testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway on December 11, 2012 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski drives the #2 Miller Lite Ford during testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway on December 11, 2012 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development, speaks to members of the media after a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands in the garage during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer drives the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, interim driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in sixteenth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finishes in fifth place, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishes in 33rd place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who led for 87 laps,  was involved in a multi-car incident on the last lap. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS races to a third place finish with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finishes in fifth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the yellow and chequered flags to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the The Harley J. Earl Trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, applies the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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andrew2k

December 12, 2012 10:02 PM

i've been reading up on this on various other sites and it seem to me like the new chassis might create an exciting season come next year. If anything its just this NASCAR really needs to get its back its strayed fans. Anyhow looking at the test results it seem like Montoya's pace seem to be improving alot. I wonder if this mean that he could be a real championsip contender next year.



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