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Goodyear kicks off Daytona 500 testing....so where are the veteran drivers?

  Joey Logano could use as many laps as he can get in these Sprint Cup cars. And so could some of the veterans too. Maybe it's time for NASCAR to reassess this testing ban, which seems to work to the advantage of the big teams and to the disadvantage of smaller teams. (Photo: ISC)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Looking for Christmas gifts? Well, the Daytona 500 isn't that far off…and, between rain showers Wednesday, five Cup drivers pulled some laps for Goodyear, in 15-lap stretches, with engineers hoping to figure out how to deal with the track which tends to have more tire problems during SpeedWeeks than it probably ought to have.
  Wear, unusual wear patterns when cars start dicing in the draft, is the typical issue. And it's almost impossible to test for, without putting a dozen or so cars out there in a pack and have them draft at race speeds.
  So it's hard to figure out just what the Goodyear-NASCAR game plan might before, as far as testing goes, for the Valentine's Day 500 next February.
   Remember NASCAR cancelled January testing this season, ostensibly a cost-cutting move, although the bigger teams simply flew their cars to other places for testing, like the GM test facility out in Arizona….hardly a cost-cutting play, and certainly not a move that would do anything to sell tickets to the Sprint Cup season opener.
   Sure, the top teams will probably press NASCAR to continue the testing 'ban,' such as it is (no testing at NASCAR tracks, although teams can test anywhere else they'd like to) – because they not only have access to plans and truckers to haul their cars wherever and whenever, and have access to high-tech computer simulations.
   But as far as getting the sport's little guys back in the picture, and as far as actually generating some ticket-buying excitement, NASCAR and its promoters would likely be better served by opening up testing at real Sprint Cup tracks with real racing Goodyears. And Goodyear officials say they're ready to bring all the tires teams might need for such testing.
   This week's Daytona test – with Clint Bowyer in a Richard Childress Chevy, David Ragan in a Jack Roush Ford, Marcos Ambrose in a Michael Waltrip Toyota, Joey Logano in a Joe Gibbs Toyota, and Brad Keselowski in a Roger Penske Dodge –  went on for two days.
    Ragan said "I'm sure this won't be the last test before the Daytona 500 in February."
    Goodyear also did a Daytona test last September.
   "I know they are going to come back here again and do some drafting," Logano said.
   With NASCAR's testing ban, getting the nod to do a Goodyear tire test has been golden…particularly for a newcomer to the division like Logano, who has been hurt by the testing ban.
    Logano this season became the youngest driver ever to start a Daytona 500: "I don't have much experience at Daytona."
    Whenever Goodyear has a test planned "I'll put my hand up," Ambrose said. "Every lap I get gives me an advantage. I'm behind Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson by about eight or nine seasons, maybe more. I've got a lot of catching up to do."
   Keselowski, who pulled off the surprise win at Talladega in April, is also a newcomer to the tour, and needs the track time.
   And Ragan doesn't have that many laps on the tour either.
   Of course all that might give one pause to ask why didn't Goodyear start out Daytona testing with some veterans, to get a better baseline, at a track where handling is so important.

  While we're at it, maybe NASCAR can scrap these IROC-style common template cars, and give fans real Fords, real Chevys, real Dodges and real Toyotas (Photo: ISC)


To quote John Kerry "I was

To quote John Kerry "I was for the testing ban, until I was against it".. Lol.. Here's why: I started following the sport, as in watching every race, in 1996. I find myself this year drifting, watched the Redskins Sunday at 1pm and flipped to the race, once it finally started, on commercials only. Ok, to the point. There are a lot of old team that have lost there energy, there class so to speak. Everham, Yates, Petty come to mind. That's a potential for 12 cars on the track that will be limited to 4. If we, the fans, and Nascar want a full 43 car grid next there are going to HAVE to be new teams come into the sport. Those new teams will need testing. I realize the lower level Nascar tracks can now be tested on, at least that's what I just read. However, these new teams will need the real Cup tracks if they have any hopes of getting into the top 35 in points. I realize this will still benefit the big teams more, but there in the top 15ish or 20th anyway and not competing with the back 35ish teams. That's why I changed my mind. Hope that makes sense.

Oh: If anyone can answer this please do. The ratings for New Hampshire were 22% lower Sunday as compaired to the same race last year. Does onyone know if the ratings include the folks who watch one sport, and record Nascar on there DVR and watch it later? An inquiring mind wants to know here. More and more people are doing just that, including me once I talk the wife into the DVR.. Lol..

Does NASCAR pick the drivers

Does NASCAR pick the drivers do they invite teams, who then pick the drivers? If the teams are selecting the drivers, it makes sense why the experienced drivers do not participate. Testing is boring. Experienced drivers have enough leverage to get out of testing. If the teams are OK sending the less experienced divers, I have no problem with that. The teams have the most to gain or lose.

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