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NASCAR opens up testing a little for teams...but wait till you see the tracks they can now use....

  NASCAR won't let Sprint Cup teams or Nationwide or Truck teams test at Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway...but teams can go out to Portland International to test if they want to, under NASCAR's new testing rules. And, yes, that's Mount Hood in the background. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

    Just when you might have thought things couldn't get much stranger….
    NASCAR executives have announced their new 2010 testing rules for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck tours.
    NASCAR will continue to ban teams from testing at the specific tracks on those tours, in what is ostensibly a cost-cutting rule for stock car teams.
    However NASCAR will now allow testing at some other NASCAR-sanctioned tracks.
    NASCAR says those tracks are Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Tri-County Motor Speedway, South Boston Speedway, Thompson International Speedway, Adirondack International Speedway, Lime Rock Park, Thunder Hill Raceway, All American Speedway, Madera Speedway, Douglas County Speedway, Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, Portland International Raceway, Miller Motorsports Park, and Colorado National Speedway.
    Now Greenville-Pickens is of course near Greenville, S.C. Tri-County is just north of Hickory, N.C. and South Boston is near South Boston, Va.
    Thompson, in Thompson, Conn., is halfway between Boston and New York City.
    Adirondack Speedway is 50 miles south of the Canadian border and three hours northeast of Watkins Glen.
    Lime Rock is two hours north of New York City.
    Thunder Hill is in Kyle, Texas, three hours south of Dallas.
    All American Speedway is just outside of Sacramento, California.
    Madera Speedway is near Fresno, California.
    Douglas County Speedway is nearly three hours south of Portland, Ore.
    Irwindale Speedway is between Los Angeles and Fontana, Calif.
    Portland International is a road course near Portland, Ore.
    Miller Motorsports Park is near Salt Lake City.
    Colorado National Speedway is just north of Denver.
   Exactly what NASCAR's thinking might be in opening up these far-flung tracks for NASCAR team testing – instead of more logical tracks like Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway, which is maybe 15 minutes from most team shops – is unclear.




Nice job NASCAR. You don't

Nice job NASCAR. You don't want your cars testing on the tracks they run on so that the underfunded teams will not get out-tested at that those tracks and to keep expenses down. Now, you open up testing at tracks far and wide from Charlotte. Guess who's going to do most of the testing at these extra tracks so far away from Charlotte? Those who can plenty afford it. The disparity will be growing again.

Why even bother, but then again????

Remember when the COT was first introduced in cost cutting savings to the teams in not having to build several "different" cars, etc, etc...Betcha right now, you can go into any Cup garage/shop and you'll find a fleet of racers, just like before with the COY (Car of Yesterday). Nothing's change.

How is saving money relevant to testing when you're driving hours out of the way to test at a track that "might" provide no edge? The track that you "race" on would be better for the wallet in testing because the dividend is what you get out of your test and use it on race day.

Here's the loophole that NASCAR doesn't get (And the Cup team owners probably ain't gonna bother with it). Just because you have a NASCAR-sanctioned track, doesn't mean you have to have a NASCAR-sanctioned-to-race "car" to test with. This is what I mean. Let's say I'm WScott34 Racing. I got 2 Cup cars. 2 drivers (no intentions to race in the series) A crew of 10. A fully equipped hauler, the whole nine. I got the $$$$, I just want to "rent" Charlotte Motor Speedway (for the 'ol school namesake) for a day. What can NASCAR do to me? I'm not racing in the series. I just wanna have fun on the track with my "team". Now for "those" who are interested in learning what happened on the track? Hmmm, see what I mean? What? NASCAR is going to force a racetrack business to cease "renting" a track in which they do all the time? No, their hands are tied. Maybe the ISC tracks which they are more NASCAR affiliated (France family; stockholders, etc) than others may put a stop to it, but for the Speedway Motorsports, Dover Downs and others. It's open season to test. Just have to put up the $$$$ for the information. Or it could be the Hendricks, Roushes, Penskes, Gibbs', Childress' that may go for it and finance it on the hush. What if they all did it and it's publicly known, what's NASCAR gonna do? Nothing. What can they do?

Interesting that Kentucky isn't on the list to test on for the Cup series.

Nothing Changed With The COT

Of course the teams all have 20 different cars in their shop, just like before. What NASCAR (specifically John Darby, who kept talking about how the COT would eliminate the need for "20 different cars for 20 different tracks") didn't get is that teams reuse different cars on numerous tracks - remember all those stories over the years of a team using its Pocono car at Texas, etc. - and have extras as backups for inevitable attrition. That hasn't changed, but the myth was pushed by NASCAR to justify the COT.


Typical NASCAR,I'd like to know why they would allow the new ford engine to be run at a tire test.Also when the tire test was thought of, smells like a tire and engine test for ford setup by NASCAR to help ford in the chase. But NASCAR would'nt do that,right?!

Who does this help?

The only people who benefit from this new testing rule are: a) the super teams who can afford to fly teams of engineers, crew, drivers etc. all over the country for testing and b) the owners of the tracks listed above who now have a new stream of income from the teams who will rent their tracks for testing.

Who is NASCAR trying to help? The fans? No; we get nothing out of this. Small teams trying to catch up to the big teams? No; they'll be farther behind the big teams than they are now.

The best idea I've heard is to open each track one day earlier on the weekend of a scheduled event for testing. Any/all teams entered in that race can test all day. Let them bring the data aquisition equipment, even a couple extra haulers if they want. It won't completely level the playing field, but it will help. It will also give every track promoter another day of headlines and another day to sell tickets & hot dogs.

Testing Tracks

I can explain Greenville Pickens. The owner, Kevin Whitaker, is on the NASCAR board of directors. Another way for an insider to get money out of the teams.

Ditto Anonymous....

Just made a comment similar to yours. An hidden agenda with NA$CAR and its' testing track promoters.

Hey Mike, there's a story for you. Find out who benefits from testing at these NA$CAR tracks and what is there affiliation with NA$CAR in another capacity.

Another agenda, perhaps?

In looking at all these "local" short tracks that can be used for testing, is NA$CAR offering testing "exclusively" to these tracks to pad the wallets of these "loyal" track promoters who may have had a bad year attendance wise?

Track testing ain't free. And the Cup and Nationwide teams have pretty decent funding to pay for those track rental services.

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