May 31 2007

Nascar Considers Relaxing Testing Policy

I recently posted about Jack Roush complaining about teams testing at tracks the cup circuit doesn’t race on, Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing come to mind, because Nascar rules say you can only test so many times on the tracks they race at with the tires they race on. This allows teams to test at tracks that are similar to the tracks they compete on as long as they don’t use the same tires. Nascar appears to be rethinking this rule as teams test the limits in figuring out the car of tomorrow. The rule was put in place to make it easier on the teams with less funding, who could not afford to test anywhere and at anytime they wanted.

Currently, rules limit teams to seven tests on Nextel Cup-sanctioned tracks, and crew chiefs help NASCAR decide the venues and dates. NASCAR adopted that policy two years ago to help under funded teams keep up with big-budget organizations, who could afford to test anytime.

But as the Car of Tomorrow was rolled into competition, the top teams found ways to test it outside of the rules.

“It appears that we’ve got teams that want to test more and teams that want to test less, and teams that test on tires that are not made by our tire supplier,” Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

“So we’re going to start looking at a lot of different things, from eventually lifting the test ban completely, or get as restrictive as we cannot let teams test anywhere at any time, or land somewhere in between.” Source: NASCAR considers relaxing testing policy

It will sure be hard to find a happy medium on anything in Nascar, as the haves and have nots compete for titles and sponsorships. Teams are buying tires from Hoosier or BF Goodrich, and are even buying Goodyears from 2005 and earlier, so they do not violate the rules. But, running on different tires may not help these teams and could even hurt them, although, that certainly hasn’t happened to Hendrick Motorsports so far this year.

Whatever Nascar does, it needs to be fair for everyone and it needs to take into consideration the number of teams involved, which tracks, and how long they actually test the vehicles.

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