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GMAC Racing: McGrew and Crew Prepared for 2006

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2006) – After helping to guide the No. 25 GMAC Racing team to its best season since 2001, crew chief Lance McGrew and the team will roll into the Jan. 16-18 NEXTEL Cup Series testing session at Daytona International Speedway on a different page compared to 2005.

At this same point last year, McGrew had only been the crew chief of the No. 25 team for two months, entering what had to seem like a hornets nest.

The Nos. 5 and 25 teams were being merged to form one team, new team personnel was being hired, Terry Labonte’s No. 44 part-time program was being assembled and construction of the 85,000-square-foot building to house the Nos. 5, 25 and 44 teams was just beginning to wrap up.

“I think (going to Daytona) this year is unique because I feel so much better prepared,” McGrew said.  “Last year at this time we had so much going on.  This year things have settled down.  We’ve been producing some fantastic new cars from the speedway group and we’re fortunate enough to be able to go to Daytona with two new cars.”

While there were an abundance of changes made during the last off-season, there’s been very few made this time around.  In fact, last year’s entire over-the-wall pit crew and early travel crew rosters remain the same for the 2006 season.

One item missing from the Daytona test, however, will be driver Brian Vickers, who is scheduled to undergo a previously scheduled routine outpatient surgery in Charlotte, N.C.  Former Busch Series champion David Green has agreed to help test the No. 25 GMAC Chevrolets for Vickers, who will resume driving duties for the Las Vegas open test session beginning Jan. 30.

Justin Labonte will substitute for Vickers during the Jan. 20-21 Busch Series preseason warm-up at Daytona, driving the No. 57 Hendrick Motorsports Busch Series entry.

Coming off his rookie season as crew chief, McGrew is excited about the progress that’s been made.

“At this point of the year, you revisit the things you could have done better and focus on building upon the positives.  There were just so many positives to build upon from 2005, with being able to grow the team, having the crew mesh together and aligning the personalities to where they’re the most productive.

“I feel like we cleared all of those hurdles last year and it’s a relief not to have to go through that again.  We built a lot of momentum from the middle part of the season on, and we’re just going to keep on moving forward.”

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