After three days, the first round of preseason testing (reserved for teams which finished odd in the owner's points standings) saw Michael Waltrip and his new-look #15 DEI NAPA team finish 12th on the final speed chart.

"The NAPA Chevy is running great," said Waltrip, a double Daytona 500 champion. "Basically testing with a team like Dale Earnhardt Inc. is all about gathering as much information as you can. We are trying to put as many runs into the computer as we possibly can then take that information back to evaluate and analyse it. Never yet have we failed to come back with a faster car when it is time for the real thing."

At preseason testing the rules differ significantly than a normal practice on race weekend. Teams are allowed to use computers onboard their cars, as evident by the thin metal tube rising up from the roof of the NAPA Chevy, and pointing forward for on-board weather and data collection. Teams are also not required to go through NASCAR tech before running on the track.

"We are as good as the guys ahead of us," said new crew chief Tony Eury Jr. "Chassis A, the car Junior (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) won Talladega in, was right up there, but our new car, Chassis B, was definitely faster by about a tenth and a half."

One of the biggest questions of the three-day test session was how the communication would be between new crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and Michael Waltrip in their first time at track together. By the end the three days there was little doubt that they were off to the right start.

"We are really having a good time with our new crew," said Waltrip. "Tony Eury Jr. has just been a real pleasure to work with. It has been a pretty special feeling to team up with a bunch of guys who have just finished competing for a championship and winning six races last year. I have never really shown up at a job where the guys have had so much success the year before. It's really exciting."

On Thursday, the final day of practice, the morning session was rained out leaving Waltrip with enough time to squeeze in a seven mile run around the track in preparation for his marathon coming up on the 30th of January. The afternoon "draft session" started late at 2:00 pm and ran into the evening under the lights. Waltrip's teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. placed 20th on the cumulative speed chart.



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