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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)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team battled back from a bad re-start after the first caution of the race to finish 17th in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
A general view as cars pit during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/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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