Testing Schedule Picks Up

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick, shown at the Daytona test at the start of the year, is among the teams testing Monday and Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

Seven organizations are testing this week at tracks that will host a Chase for the Sprint Cup race, starting a push toward the championship.

Meanwhile, two organizations - representing five Chase drivers - have yet to use any of their four tests allowed at tracks that host Cup races.

Testing today and Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway - the opening race in the Chase next month - are Stewart-Haas Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing.

Stewart-Haas Racing stated that Tony Stewart’s team is not testing at  Chicagoland Speedway.

Hendrick Motorsports tests Tuesday and Wednesday at Martinsville Speedway.

Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing have saved their four tests for the end of the season. Both will use their first test Sept. 2-3 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. They’ll be joined by JTG Daugherty.

Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano - who have each scored three wins this season - also are scheduled to test at Texas, Martinsville and Homestead. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth are also scheduled to test Phoenix, Homestead and one other track to be determined.

Travis Geisler, competition director at Team Penske, admits the decisions on which tracks to choose were “hotly contested” within the organization.

Geisler said the organization selected Charlotte because it has “been a little hit and miss” there.

“I’d say the track we’re best at are kind of Kentucky, Texas and Chicago,’’ he said. “The Kansas and Charlotte (tracks) are maybe a little weaker, so we want to try to shore up that side of it.’’

Although Penske isn’t going to Kansas, it can still get testing information from there. Leavine Family Racing, a Ford team with Michael McDowell, is testing today and Tuesday at Kansas Speedway. The team gets chassis and parts from Team Penske. As  a Ford team, information from Leavine’s test can be analyzed by Penske officials.

Although Geisler said Texas is a good track for the organization, that’s still one the team will test instead of Phoenix where Kevin Harvick dominated in March, while Keselowski was third and Logano fourth. 

“We feel like Texas is a place we need to win,’’ Geisler said. “We feel like that’s our best opportunity to capitalize on winning. If your car is good enough, you can race to the front.’’

Geisler also noted that since the Phoenix race is shorter than the Texas race, it’s more difficult to make it back toward the front. Thus, the decision to test at Texas instead.

Geisler said that the team will test Martinsville because it needs to match the Hendrick Motorsports cars there. Another key is that is the first race in the third round of the Chase.  Whoever wins that race will be among the four to race for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway and can begin focusing on that event instead worrying as much about Texas and Phoenix.

Here’s a look at confirmed testing dates in the coming weeks.  

Aug. 25-26

Chicagoland Speedway

Stewart-Haas Racing

Roush Fenway Racing

Michael Waltrip Racing

Richard Petty Motorsports

Chip Ganassi Racing

 

Aug. 25-26 

Kansas Speedway

Leavine Family Racing

 

Aug. 26-27

Martinsville Speedway

Hendrick Motorsports

Sept. 2-3

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Stewart-Haas Racing

Leavine Family Racing

Front Row Motorsports

 

Sept. 2-3

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Team Penske

JTG Daugherty

Joe Gibbs Racing

 

Sept. 22-23

Texas Motor Speedway

Team Penske

Roush Fenway Racing

 

Oct. 7-8

Martinsville Speedway

Chip Ganassi Racing

 

Oct. 13-14 

Martinsville Speedway

Team Penske

Germain Racing

 

Related Topics:

NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup

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