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Старый 19.11.2009, 11:53   #2
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По умолчанию Re: Michael Waltrip Racing


Trulli, Salo have fun with Michael Waltrip Racing

Formula One driver Jarno Trulli recently wrapped up his 2009 season with the Toyota Racing F1 team on the state-of-the-art Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. For the Italian it was a bittersweet event, as Toyota announced that they were pulling out of the pinacle open-wheel series, just days after the end of the 2009 season.

Trulli's future is unknown at this time; one new team for the 2010 season has recently shown interest but for now he had an interesting fun time in New Smyrna, Fla., USA, where he was behind the wheel of the No. 55 Toyota Camry belonging to Michael Waltrip Racing.

"They (Trulli and Mika Salo) wanted to test our NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota and see what our sport is all about," Waltrip said. "They did an outstanding job and were turning some pretty quick times. We were just as serious about this two-day test as they were. We brought down an entire crew. Toyota, our team and engineers fully supported this effort. We were 100% committed to giving it our all just like we would at any of our tests."

Instead of the usual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ovals, Trulli toured the 0.47-mile New Smyrna Speedway, completing close to 300 laps. The small short track was re-paved in 2007 and since then, several of the NASCAR teams hold testing sessions on the oval.

"In the beginning, it was a big shock for me," said Trulli. "It was the first time in my life I was leaving pit road in a closed cockpit. I needed to get used to that feeling of not having my head out. I'm used to being in a stiff car on the ground. The Cup car moves around a lot. It requires skill, feeling and understanding. There are so many different factors and you need to be a smart person to be aware of what is happening around you."

The Italian took in yesterday's test ran by another former F1 star, who is more at home in a sports car. Mika Salo has most recently raced a Ferrari in the American Le Mans Series, earning the GT2 championship in 2008, and has won in the LM GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the Finn immediately took to the challenge of running a stockcar.

"I was very comfortable out there and had a lot of fun. I was quick and I know that if I had today to test, I would be a lot quicker. Now, I want to have 42 other cars around me and see what it is really like," smiled Salo.

Besides Cup racer Michael Waltrip and one of his team's drivers, Trevor Bayne who will contest the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the new formed Diamond-Waltrip Racing in 2010, also on hand with a surprise visit was Mark Martin.

Martin, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports, sits second in the Cup series points as the Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck teams head for Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend for the final NASCAR races in 2009.

"All of a sudden, Mark Martin was here at New Smyrna," Salo said. "He sat down in front of me and I listened. I learned some things from him during his time here."

Trulli commented at the end of the test day his feelings about a possible future in NASCAR. "I didn't know about NASCAR until Juan Pablo Montoya made his move. The world has changed and everyone is looking at different Series," he said. "I haven't signed with anyone yet and I've talked to teams. My door is open right now."
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