NASCAR Pleased With Daytona Test

NASCAR

NASCAR officials were happy with what took place on the 2.5-mile track over the three-day test session, despite Friday’s multi-car crash that ended several teams’ time in Daytona. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

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Daytona Preseason Thunder testing of the new sixth-generation Sprint Cup Series car went about as well as expected.

NASCAR officials were happy with what took place on the 2.5-mile track over the three-day test session, despite Friday’s multi-car crash that ended several teams’ time in Daytona.

“All in all I think the test has really progressed quite nicely,” NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said during Saturday’s final test day. “Teams yesterday with their drafting speeds looked to be where they need to be. Even though there was an incident there, I think it was a good opportunity for the manufacturers to look at the components they've built, the composite pieces and actually it was a good look at the new roof flaps, the systems, how everything worked.

“Everything went pretty good from an overall view of it as far as how the cars react and things like that. So I'm pretty excited about the test and the success everybody's having with it.”

While some speeds were a little slower than last year’s test - due in most part to the lack of drafting, more single car runs and warm temperatures - Pemberton doesn’t expect that to be the case when teams return for Budweiser Speedweeks.

“Really, it was spot on,” he said. “Speeds were there. You know, single car speeds are a little bit quicker than last year. That was a goal. Our pack speeds are the same or down a little bit. So that was another one of our goals.

“We know that the teams will go back and work on their stuff. I anticipate the pole to be in the 196 range, maybe a little bit quicker. Depends on the weather.”

Teams ran the same restrictor plate package as was in place last year and NASCAR does not plan to make any adjustments next month. However the sanctioning body is prepared for speeds to increase over what was posted during the test.

“When you're down here with a large group, 34 cars over the couple days, it all looks and feels the same,” Pemberton said. “You know that they'll go back, they'll bring back a little bit better with the engines, they'll bring back different cars, they'll tune on them a little bit.

“We're comfortable with that. The days of coming back with plus 10 miles an hour have been long gone for a long time. We work with the teams pretty close. So we got a good handle on that.”

One thing teams don’t completely have a handle on is inventory of parts to build more cars. Several had machines wiped out during Friday’s crash and are struggling to get new cars on line in time for the start of the season.

But Pemberton said there is no concern on NASCAR’s part about the delivery date of parts and pieces or the creation of cars.

“No, it's just a fact that there's a lack of inventory,” said Pemberton. “We know where we're at. It's on everybody's part as far as delivery dates on sheet metal, whether it's deck lids or hoods from every manufacturer.

“When you look at the delivery dates on things, we should be in pretty good shape by the time we get through Speedweeks and into the first regular season race.”

The off-season testing schedule concludes this week with a second session at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday and Friday. As important as the Daytona test was, getting the new car to perform competitively on intermediate tracks like Charlotte may be an even bigger emphasis for NASCAR.

“We've put a lot of work into the mile and a half, the two mile, the unrestricted racetracks,” said Pemberton. “We'll test at Charlotte next week. We've worked on the cars in areas that we have not worked on in the past for those open racetracks. There's more opportunity for down force to be created down low in the splitter area with under body work that is cleaner air. Hopefully that will tend to allow the cars to behave better around other cars.

“We feel like we're in a way better place than we were a year ago with a lot of different things, not just the speedways, but the unrestricted racetracks also. Remains to be seen when the cars get in the teams' hands and what they do with them at the racetrack. But we're overly optimistic it's going to be pretty good, really good.”

Related Topics:

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

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