Michael Waltrip Racing's Brian Vickers heads to Texas after spending much of the week testing the 2015 Toyota Camry at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California to get a head-start on next year's new rules package.
With NASCAR having banned all individual team testing next season, any chance the team can get to run their new car under the existing regulations could prove crucial to what happens in next year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
"It was good to get some time behind the wheel," he said on Wednesday. "It might not be as fun as racing but testing is where we learn what the Goodyear tyres, our car and engine like and don't like.
"I don't know if you have ever been to a test, but it isn't very exciting for a race car driver," he admitted. "I drive for a couple of laps, tell them what I feel, then the engineers will pour over the data, make some changes and back I go out on the track. We just repeat that throughout the day.
"[But] I enjoy the science behind testing. The more you learn in testing the better you will be in the race. With the reduction in testing planned for next season, days like this are very valuable. So far I love what I see with the new Camry. It looks good, and drives good."
His MWR team mate Clint Bowyer was also optimistic for next year, especially as the current season proved such a disappointment after he narrowly missed out on making it into the Chase play-offs.
"It's quite obvious that we missed the mark on this car for this year," conceded Boywer. "The best thing that I can see is the light at the end of the tunnel is a completely different animal, starting from scratch again next year with a new car and new rules and everything else.
"To be honest, that's a good thing for me," he added. "Hopefully, we can be a lot better to the punch line at the beginning of the year than we were and not have to play catch up all season long like we've been."
But preparations for next year aside, the drivers are looking forward to getting back to raving this weekend at Texas.
"The thing that jumps out at you at Texas is how fast it is," Vickers said. "The pole speed was over 195 mph in April and that's on a 1.5-mile track.
"I heard a stat the other day that 21 of the 27 winners at Texas have come from drivers starting in the top ten," he added. "That means getting a good start is important so Friday's qualifying has added emphasis. We won the pole there in 2006 and I'd sure like to get another one on Friday."
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