On the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway where speed is king, the Car Of Tomorrow (COT) is receiving praise throughout the garage.
When asked his opinion of the COT at Talladega, Dave Blaney, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota said, "These cars drive really good around here. They're nice and solid and I really think it will be a lot of fun out there drafting. I think you'll be able to suck-up to people a lot faster that we could before."
Denny Hamlin, driver of the No.11 FedEx Chevrolet, agrees the competition will be tighter, stating "the way the cars are set up and the big hole they punch in the air, it should be way wilder than anything we've ever seen here."
Hamlin also said as a driver, he doesn't notice much difference between the COT and the previous car. "I really didn't notice that much difference, not really as much as I thought. The way it actually steers and everything is not that much different. We have a little bit more steering-wheel angle in this car than what we had in the previous car, because the other car we had just fine-tuned to pretty much drive itself around the race track. Really, it's not a whole lot of difference in the driver's seat."
Even crew chiefs are excited about bringing the COT to Talladega. Bob Osborne, crew chief of the No.99 car said, "The Car Of Tomorrow here is fun to work with. It's challenging, but with the way this track is laid out and how smooth it is, it makes it a lot of fun. The car is actually handling very well. As smooth as this track is and as broad as the corners are, we don't really struggle with the bump stops here like we have in the past at other tracks. This race track allows us to use the bump stops the way they should be used. Limit the ride height, and it doesn't affect the handling characteristics of the race car."
Here's what other drivers are saying about Talladega Superspeedway and the COT:
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet -
"At Talladega, we're going to put on a spectacular race. I expect it to be pretty wild, pretty crazy and a heck of a show for the fans."
Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge-
"I think it's going to be the best Car of Tomorrow race we've had yet. The way the cars line up, you can do things out there and have fun. I think it's going to be the most fun we've had in the new car."
Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge-
"I'm excited about it. It's going to change the element of how Talladega races and I think it will be twice as exciting."
Ryan Newman, No. 12 Alltel Dodge-
"It should be a lot of fun. It should be a great race."
Casey Mears, No. 25 National Guard-GMAC Chevrolet-
"I think the race is going to be good, and it's going to be a big ol' tight group like always."
Dale Jarrett, No. 44 UPS Toyota-
"Drafting should come into play a little more than we have been used to. We have more throttle response and the cars drive fine here because the track is so smooth."
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet-
"So far the car drives really well and everything seems to be fine."
Sam Hornish, No. Mobil 1 Dodge-
"The COT versus the Busch car is quite a bit different, just in the amount of downforce that it has. I actually like running the COT a little bit better."
The 2007 UAW-Ford 500 weekend at Talladega Superspeedway consists of the ARCA RE/MAX Series 250 on Friday, followed by the Mountain Dew 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Car of Tomorrow will make its first appearance in a superspeedway race on Sunday, Oct. 7, which is also the fourth race in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Kids age 11 and younger are admitted free of charge on Friday and Saturday of race weekends in the general admission grandstands at Talladega Superspeedway. To order tickets, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA (1-877-462-3342). For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available online at
www.racetickets.com or in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., Wed. - Sun.