Bill Lester believes that the upcoming NASCAR Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be a completely new experience for him.
Bill Lester will make his highly-anticipated NASCAR return this Saturday in the Truck Series race at Atlanta as he will drive the no.17 David Gilliland Racing truck. Ahead of the race weekend, the 60-year-old driver from Oakland, CA has given his insight on what changes he expects from the trucks.
“What I’ve noticed just by watching is that with these new motors, I guess the Ilmor motor, they are nothing like what I was used to when I left the sport,” Bill Lester tells ASN Motorsports. “We were spinning them to like as high as 8800-8900 rpm at one point. And then they brought in this gear rule and that backed them down to about 8500-8600 rpm, but I see these things going around at 7000 rpm, and I’m like ‘wow, that’s low’, but what I’m told, they’re very torquey.”
“You actually have to drive these motors now with a lot of momentum behind you […] That’s going to obviously be an adjustment for me. I’m not sure what that feels like, but I’m going to obviously find out here in the short order.”
“I had the impression that the bodies create a bit more downforce now, so, hopefully, you can lean on them in the corners a bit more. But what is the tire d [degradation] now, what’s the profile like – I have absolutely no idea”, he adds.
Bill Lester has also confirmed that he will visit the David Gilliland Racing shop tomorrow to get more understanding of the truck: “I’m heading to DGR tomorrow so that I can spend some time with both my crew chief and David Gilliland to get some insights from them in terms of what I should expect. I’ve admired David’s career for quite a long time when he was racing in the Cup and he’s got a tonne of experience which I hope to try to gain some from.”
“This is going to be a whole new drive for me, a whole new format in terms of how we go racing. I’ve got a lot to learn in a very short period of time”, Lester says in the end.
Atlanta is a special track for Bill Lester to return to racing as he made his first Cup Series start there back in 2006, becoming the first African-American to start a Cup Series race in 20 years.