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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Testing ban great idea to help cut costs in bad economy, level playing field

If you don’t believe NASCAR’s decision to ban testing at sanctioned tracks in 2009, just look at who its biggest opponents are: Jimmie Johnson and Rick Hendrick.

Almost everyone else in the garage, including Jack Roush, is in favor of the decision to cut out testing in a move to help teams save money. With layoffs coming around the garage area and sponsorship hard to find, saving money is key right now. Starting Jan. 1, teams will not be allowed to test at any track hosting sanctioned events in the Cup, Nationwide, Truck or Camping World series.

When the only people who think it’s a bad idea are the 3-time reigning champion and his car owner -- the people who no doubt have benefited most from testing over the years -- you can bet it’s a good thing for the sport as a whole. Powerhouse teams like Hendrick now won’t be able to send five cars to a track and get a ton of info that will help them perform better on race weekends.

Now it’s back to the good old-fashioned way of racing. Everybody shows up, does a bunch of practice sessions that weekend (more time will likely be allotted for practice, especially for the rookies), and then they race. Gone are the useless weeks of preseason testing at Daytona, which has always been a complete waste of time as teams were mostly sandbagging anyway.

Drivers and other team members will have more free time to spend with their families, so I bet they’re all very happy (with the exception of Johnson).

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin put it perfectly, saying: “We get a lot of practice. We get almost three hours of practice every weekend. That’s a lot. If we can’t learn it by then, we shouldn’t be in the sport.”

Compare that to Johnson, who said: “I think it’s a mistake. I think the teams need a chance to work on their cars to improve their programs, to put on a better show.”

What he really means is that it’s a bonus for the smaller teams who can’t afford to test as much as the Hendricks of the world, and will level the playing field more, lessening the likelihood of a Hendrick dynasty continuing.

That’s good news in my book , and anyone who wants a more competitive Cup series should also be happy with this decision.

The key will be for NASCAR to keep an eye on any way teams may try to skirt the rule and do a bunch of testing on nonsanctioned tracks. This would violate the spirit of the law, and I hope teams don't do this. Roush has called for a total ban on all testing at all tracks, and said that while he has no intention of skirting the rule, he would have to follow other teams’ lead if they failed to avoid going “to the skid pads … to Canada … to Pikes Peak or any of the places they're checking on.”

I’m with Roush on this one. If NASCAR wants to be serious about this ban, they should flat out ban testing. Let the drivers show up, practice and race without 50 pages of data to analyze. It would be a throwback to a simpler era before teams grew so large they could afford to spend $100,000 a day on testing.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man your stuped the top teams will go to other tracks and test ,it will heart the little teams only. JJ sayed that is what HMS will do.

November 18, 2008 at 6:34 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the important point is that testing is banned at all tracks that any Nascar Touring series goes to. This eliminates Sprint Cup teams going to places like Kentucky, Milwaukee, Nashville and the like. Sure, teams will still go to Rockingham, Lakeland and some other tracks. However, not being able to use Goodyear tires and the irrelevance of many of those tracks will not give the bigger teams that much of an advantage.

While Hendrick will still throw his millions in every possible direction, the actual value he will get for his money in the testing department will be minimal. Unless Nascar makes significant changes to the COT, there isn't a tremendous need to test at these tracks with the exception of getting track time for young drivers.

As for JD Gibbs complaining about the lack of track time for Joey Logano, I have some advice for him. There is ARCA, Truck Series and Nationwide series races galore to give him the experience he needs.

I usually loathe giving Nascar any credit for their decisions in this department. Almost every decision they've made in the cost cutting arena has had the opposite effect. However, this is a step into the right direction. Much more has to be done.

November 18, 2008 at 10:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if nascar does ban testing i hope its only nascar tracks, with nascar teams having to cut cost. they should go to arca tracks.. such as, flatrock or toledo, this will help the much smaller arca tracks, ..as for joey logano, jg should of had him do the arca re/max series. ps, see my other messages at, flatrockspeedway.com click search 2 times type in indycar01, and i hope 2 see you next april at, flatrockspeedway!..

November 21, 2008 at 8:25 AM 

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