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Drivers conduct 1st test with new spoiler at Texas

NASCAR Sprint Cup cars
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

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Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Brian Vickers became the first drivers to conduct an on-track test with a new aluminum spoiler package that could be implemented for the 2010 season during Tuesday's Goodyear Tire test at Texas Motor Speedway.

Stewart was the first of the group to test the spoiler in the morning session, which was delayed nearly two hours from its 9:00am/ct start time due to moisture on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval from heavy morning dew. The session kicked off at approximately 10:53am/ct with temperatures in the 60s as Stewart rolled out with the wing and less than 40 minutes later was utilizing the spoiler. Vickers also got an opportunity to run the spoiler in the abbreviated morning session.

"It (the spoiler) was on a bunch. It didn't seem to be a big balance change which was good," Stewart said. "That means you won't have to invent the wheel necessarily. It was a balance shift, but it wasn't a big balance shift. You've got two kinds of grip - you've got aero grip and you've got mechanical grip. The spoiler is the aero grip and the tires are mechanical. The mechanical grip is real important because it doesn't know if you are running first in line or 10th in line. I'm more of a mechanical guy."

"I thought it (spoiler) was good," Vickers said. "I thought it added a little bit of front downforce, which is a good thing. I think it's going to be more accepted to the fans. It looks cooler - a little more retro back to the older car. We haven't been in a lot of traffic yet, so the big question is how it's going to handle in traffic. Theoretically, from what I've been told, the difference between the two is that the spoiler is better in traffic. The spoiler is going to be more efficient in dirty air and a wing will be more efficient in clean air. Once you get in a lot of turbulence, the spoiler's not going to lose a lot of efficiency while a wing really will."

NASCAR has not determined the specific dimensions as yet for the spoiler, but the one that was being used as a baseline at Tuesday's session was 64.5 inches wide and four inches in height with no contour in the design. Also, the rear quarter panels were extended four inches toward the ground. NASCAR phased out the traditional spoiler on the rear deck lid of the Sprint Cup Series cars and went to a rear wing when the "Car of Tomorrow" project was unveiled in 2007.

The return to the traditional look provides fans with the ability to differentiate between the four manufacturers more easily and hopefully enhance the passing ability of the cars and overall race action. Tuesday's tire test was the first opportunity for drivers to test the package and provide feedback on its effects on the car. Biffle and Busch had to wait until the afternoon session to test out the spoiler, with Busch not getting an opportunity until nearly the culmination of the session.

Stewart, Busch, Biffle and Vickers will conclude the Goodyear test Wednesday, where they are scheduled to test the spoiler package once again. NASCAR will conduct another test with the spoiler March 23-24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway - another 1.5- mile oval and sister track to TMS  that will be open to all Sprint Cup teams. If NASCAR is pleased with the progress and performance of the spoiler, the new package could be implemented for the Samsung Mobile 500 scheduled for April 15-18 at Texas Motor Speedway. Following Tuesday's test session, Stewart, Busch, Biffle and Vickers graciously volunteered their time to participate in the "Gear Up For The Green Flag" fan event in the Grand Ballroom of The Speedway Club.

A full house of more than 500 season ticket holders and special guests were on hand for a dinner, giveaways and a question-and answer session with the drivers to officially kick off the upcoming racing season.

"This was truly a special treat for our fans and the thanks goes to Tony, Kurt, Greg and Brian for making the time to be part of this event," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "We had a ton of laughs and shared some entertaining stories to make for a great evening." Tickets for the Samsung Mobile 500/O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 NASCAR doubleheader weekend are available by calling (817) 215-8500 or by visiting the speedway's website at www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

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