With the off-season in full swing, NASCAR is preparing for the season ahead as the teams are. To help with their preparations, they hosted an important test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway to try some different packages.
Throughout the day, NASCAR hosted five mini 30 lap races to try out the different packages that they wanted to try. The chart below explains the packages they tried.
Based on the test today, NASCAR will decide on the package to go with for the 2014 season as they look to improve the racing package.
NASCAR’s Innovation and Racing Development Vice President Gene Stefanyshyn said that this was done following the test last October as they continue to build their database of information. He was also happy about the amount of drivers that showed up for today’s test – 30 cars total – as it allows them to exercise their ideas in a real-world package.
NASCAR’s VP of Competition Robin Pemberton echoed their sentiments as he says its great to be able to test the packages this way due to the great unknown – aerodynamics. He also said it’s great to have many voices to feed information from as each person will have their own perspective and those perspectives combined can make for the best package.
NASCAR decided to work towards this package to therefore improving the competition.
“Really what we’re attempting to do here is to get closer competition and more passing, closer competition, the cars running closer in the pack, passing more with an eye for the fans. That’s basically what we’re doing,” Stefanyshyn said. “We’re using various metrics to look at that, like the first-to-fifth time differentials, the time differentials between the 10 fastest laps, those types of things. Those are the types of metrics. There’s many more, but that’s just an example.”
NASCAR hopes to have a package finalized for next year by next week.
While good for NASCAR, it was also good for some of the teams as it allowed some drivers to work with their new teams for the first time.
Kevin Harvick, testing with Stewart-Haas Racing for the first time, posted the quickest time during the configuration one test at 27.711 seconds. Ryan Newman, testing with Richard Childress Racing for the first time, posted the second quickest time, followed by Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing teammates Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson. Larson makes the jump to the Sprint Cup Series next year after success in the Nationwide Series with Turner-Scott Motorsports. Hendrick Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five.
Larson led the second configuration with a lap of 28.161 seconds ahead of Hendrick Motorsports’ Dale Earnhardt Jr., Harvick, Kahne and Roush-Fenway’s Greg Biffle.
Harvick hopped back to the top in the third configuration with a lap of 28.024 seconds ahead of Larson, Kahne, Earnhardt Jr. and Newman.
Larson led the fourth configuration with a lap of 28.284 seconds ahead of Harvick, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne and Richard Petty Motorsport’s Aric Almirola.
Harvick led the final group test with a lap of 28.435 seconds ahead of Larson, Kahne, McMurray and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon. Dillon was behind the wheel of the No. 29 for the test, but will be running the No. 3 next year in his rookie Sprint Cup Series season.