Michael Waltrip, driver of the #15 NAPA Chevrolet Monte Carlo, topped the charts in the first round of NASCAR Nextel Cup testing at Daytona International Speedway January 6-8.

The two-time and defending Daytona 500 winner logged the best time and fastest speed in all segments (morning and afternoon) of the three-day session.

His fastest speed was clocked during yesterday [Thursday]'s afternoon segment at 187.731mph.

"We have had a terrific test even though it got off to a rocky start when we crashed one of our cars on Tuesday, but it just shows you how prepared this team was is," reflected Waltrip, "They had two cars here that were going to be strong, but we'll go home and fix the other one and go to Talladega with it. We'll practice more, which means we will practice more with the car we ran for three days with and make it faster yet. We'll turn a negative into a positive by further researching this test with a follow up in Talladega with this NAPA Chevy.

"We still have a lot of stuff we are scratching our heads about, trying to diagnose what the data on the computer says combined with what the stop watch says and how it feels to me. We take in so much it takes a while to dissect exactly what changes were good and what package to come back to Daytona with in a few weeks.

"We decided not to draft today because I have a theory that making the car faster makes me a better drafter. I have enough experience in the draft. I just need to get my car fast. Once we accomplish that, we have to visit how the car handles in the long haul and what gear to pull in the draft opposed to when we are by ourselves. We do rely on our past experiences, not just a good test to help us make decisions for our return in pursuit of speed. We think it helps us spend the last two hours of the day trying more things."

The second round of testing for the Nextel Cup cars is set for next week - January 13 - 15.



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