by Chris Leone, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
I do weekly Fantasy Pick'Em columns here at OPR, as well as the occasional opinion and analysis piece. I also provide the IZOD IndyCar Series coverage. For more on that, head to my site, OpenWheelAmerica.com. My Twitter handle is @christopherlion.September 23, 2009 12:31 pm UTC No Comments
Under the 2010 testing rules, tracks that host national series events (Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World Trucks, East, and West Series) will be unavailable for testing for the second year in a row. This move was initially made for two reasons: to cut costs in a weak sponsor market, and because plenty of teams are able to utilize seven-post shaker rigs to “test” cars anyway.
The one change in the policy, however, deals with tracks hosting regional series events. NASCAR teams will now be able to test at these tracks, provided that they do not also host national series events.
Some of the tracks in question, like South Boston Speedway in Virginia, Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina, and the Music City Motorplex in Nashville, Tennessee, have rich NASCAR traditions going back to the 1950s and 60s. Those three tracks all hosted Grand National (now Sprint Cup) events into at least the 1970s. South Boston hosted Nationwide and Truck Series events up until 2003.
Reportedly, the move was made to give teams closer testing options than New Smyrna Speedway in Florida. Most teams are based in the Mooresville, NC area, just over 500 miles away from the .47-mile track. In comparison, the Music City Motorplex is about 400 miles away, South Boston is just over 150, and Greenville-Pickens is only 100 miles from Mooresville.
While the implementation of unrestricted testing remains nowhere in sight, it’s a step in the right direction that NASCAR has eased the ban ever so slightly. It offers teams with devoted testing departments hope that someday their jobs will be as useful as they once were.
Expensive as it is, and unfairly biased towards the rich teams as it can get, devoted testing programs create jobs for NASCAR professionals. With so many qualified people out of jobs, the industry can use whatever stimulation it gets, and the big teams have enough money to run such programs.
Not only that, it’s not as if the information wouldn’t get out anyway, with all these alliances and whatnot…
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowNovember 20, 2008 11:53 pm UTC 6 Comments
NASCAR has banned testing on the Sprint Cup car that most drivers have called evil or worse and leaves their crew chiefs scratching heads or screaming into radios – “I already tried that!”. The ban will save money, the suits in Daytona claim. Most owners and their managers seem to agree. But is this move really more of a gesture than a real solution?
According to Mike Mulhern’s article on the subject of cost cutting in NASCAR, Toyota’s Lee White proposed something more radical – actually limiting each team to as few as five cars.
“White says that during mid-season discussions the issue of limiting teams to just five cars was raised: “NASCAR is already putting holograms on the frame-rails of every car, so just tell the teams ‘You only get five cars. And when you start testing, design a car that can be adjustable to running speedways, intermediate tracks, short-tracks and road courses,’” White says.
OK, using the list above, one car each for plate tracks, intermediates, shorties and road courses leaves a team with one extra. That car would have to do multiple duty – hell all of these cars would. Damage your Bristol car in practice and what – break out the plate car? Remember when - who was it Junior? Stewart? - used his Bristol car at Daytona last year? And what about back to back to back cookie-cutter weekends like the Chase produces?
Then there is the travel complication. If you wreck your intermediate car at Fontana in February do you send it back to North Carolina to fix it before Atlanta and make do at Vegas with something makeshift? I could see mega-budget teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Roush-Fenway Racing flying cars around – just as Formula One teams do – to save time, using some of the dollars that NASCAR sees as savings. The small guys probably couldn’t do that.
Limiting the number of cars in a team seems like a legit way to cut investment and expenses. But five cars isn’t enough. With twenty unique cars being the norm right now, cutting to ten seems doable though. It’s the best idea that I’ve seen so far.
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