NASCAR to make major testing changes

UPDATE #2 NASCAR will likely schedule three-day tests at six Nextel Cup tracks in 2006, with each team allowed to attend two of those days. Beyond that, Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, no other testing will be allowed at tracks where the series races. Daytona, Las Vegas and Homestead-Miami are the likely sites for tests. The other three will be chosen through input from the garage, Darby said. One short track, perhaps Richmond, and one high-banked 1.5-mile track, like Charlotte, Texas or Atlanta, would likely be among the others. Indianapolis was on the original list, but Darby said teams might prefer another track to it.

The idea of manufacturers' tests, with all Chevrolets, all Dodges and all Fords testing together, was abandoned after feedback from the garage, Darby said. Similar limits would be in effect for the Busch and Truck series.

Darby said NASCAR expects more than 30 of next year's races to be impound races, where teams won't be allowed to work on their cars after qualifying.

This year's 36-race schedule will include about 20 impound races. Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte could be among those added to the impound list, especially for its October race, but the track is not expected to change its schedule for Thursday night qualifying sessions.

07/25/05 NASCAR is contemplating revamping its testing procedures for 2006. Under the proposal, each manufacturer would receive six two-day tests at tracks that have Nextel Cup races. For example, the Chevrolet drivers would test on the same days at the same six places, the Ford drivers at presumably a slightly different six and the Dodge drivers at six. The tracks would have to be agreed upon by the owners of that brand. The current policy allows teams five two-day tests wherever they want, whenever they want. Daytona still would be mandatory for all teams. The goal of the change is twofold: to cut down on tire costs and to allow teams time to prepare for the car of the future, which is expected to make its debut in 2007. Goodyear would have engineering support on hand and sign out tires at the tests. Teams still would be allowed to test at tracks that don't have Cup races, but current tires would not be available. Sporting News

07/17/05 NASCAR is planning a major change in Nextel Cup testing for next season, limiting teams to six designated manufacturers tests. That means that all three carmakers – Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge – would each have to specify which six tracks they want their own teams to test at, and no other testing at any NASCAR track would be allowed. The Nextel Cup tour runs at 23 different tracks. Such a rule would keep multi-car teams from testing at numerous different tracks. For example, Rick Hendrick's four primary teams can each test at seven different tracks, giving that operation a total of 28 tests, while in contrast, single-car team owners like Cal Wells can only test at seven tracks. Under the proposed new rule, which is still being debated, each manufacturer would have to pick six tracks and its teams could test at those six tracks on those six dates. NASCAR also wants to bar any testing during the final 10 races of the season. Car owner Jack Roush says he would suggest that NASCAR limit testing to the Friday before each race, at that specific track: "As we work toward impound races, which I'm in favor of, if we used each Friday as a test date at the particular track, NASCAR could supervise the tests … and tracks could sell tickets, the media could swarm, and the guys could wreck their cars if they wanted … and we would have people watching with some interest, which, after all, is why we do this sport. Everybody would be at the track, with hotel rooms already, with the same tires, so it's all relevant, and without us having to run all these tractor-trailers up and down the road … it's got so much going for it I can't imagine they'd ever do it." Winston Salem Journal

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