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Team Lowe’s Makes Progress in Daytona

  • Jan 14, 2003

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 14, 2003) – Team Lowe’s Racing began the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series campaign with its first test of the season last week at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The session also marked the first time that driver Jimmie Johnson was behind the wheel of the new-look 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

“This test session is going to be a learning experience for the Lowe’s team,” said crew chief Chad Knaus beforehand. “This is the first time that we’ve had the new 2003 Monte Carlo on track and we needed to see what we were working with and go from there..”

Team Lowe’s Racing hit the track on Monday morning and worked the first half of the day on trying to get a feel for what the new body style had to offer the team.

“Initially, we were hoping that we would have unloaded a little faster, just based on the success we had here last year,” explained Johnson, following the completion of Day One of NASCAR’s “Preseason Thunder” schedule. “But, as the day went on we made huge gains.

“We are very happy with the progress we made for our first shot with the car and are continually making improvements. Granted, this is a speedway, which is going to be a lot different than the majority of the races we have during the season. But, we found the sweet spot and the things that the car likes to respond to and are looking forward to the next couple of days of really working in those areas to perfect the car.”

During the afternoon session, the team discovered some areas of improvement, making gains and improving on earlier results. At the end of the day, Team Lowe’s posted the 17th-fastest time overall. While it is not the same place they were at this time last season, the team was pleased, all things considered.

“We started out almost a full second off the pace at the beginning of the day,” said Knaus, while reviewing team data following the conclusion of the first session. “By the time we finished the session we had closed that gap to less than a half-second.

“If we can be within three or four tenths of a second off the fastest lap time at the end of the three-day test, we will be in good shape come February.”

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