Talladega Test Up Next

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – This week’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test at Talladega Superspeedway marks more than the usual in-season prep session.

The track’s Oct. 7 UAW-Ford 500 will be the first restrictor-plate event for the Car of Tomorrow – NASCAR’s next-generation race car that will compete fulltime in 2008 – so the two-day test means preparing to make history.

“I think it's going to be a big test,” said NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton. “When you look at Talladega historically, they have had some of the most exciting races and tightest competition. That race track is one of the widest tracks we go to. It is the biggest track we go to. So the races there have historically been great.”

A total of 52 series teams will test next Monday and Tuesday on Talladega’s high-banked, 2.66-mile tri-oval. It’s the sixth of seven NASCAR-scheduled series tests in 2007 and the third dedicated to the Car of Tomorrow (previous tests for the new car took place at Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway). Teams are phasing in the new car by running it in 16 of 36 scheduled ’07 events; the Oct. 7 race at Talladega marks the 14th such event.

It’s also the fourth event in the 2007 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup – the battle for the series title that takes place during the season’s final 10 events. Five of those events will be run with the new car.

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Director John Darby said the new car will have a considerable, positive effect on teams’ restrictor-plate preparations. Two of the car’s new components – including the splitter just below the front air dam and the rear wing – should allow crew chiefs more restrictor-place tuning options.

“Forever, we've had a restrictor-plate car and a short-track and intermediate car,” Darby said of the variations of the current car. “And although I would never walk down the path of being as naive as saying there won't be any differences, the cars will be much, much closer. The differences between the (.526.-mile) Martinsville (Speedway) car and Talladega car will probably be small enough that only a specialist in the field will be able to tell them apart.”

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