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The “official” racing at Charlotte may be over, for 2013 but the real race for NASCAR Cup Series teams has just begun. Six drivers, two representing each manufacturer were testing at the 1.5-mile oval Monday as the sport tries to radically redesign its aerodynamic package for next year. Major changes are expected, this offseason after sources claim Toyota has found a combination that would eliminate the dreaded “aero push” at the front of the pack. Like running into a brick wall, it’s kept on-track passes to a minimum up front while automatically scrubbing speed off a second-place car.
Results of the test are being kept private, sent to NASCAR Research and Development for further review. Here’s what we do know: three different packages were tried, with the focus on changing spoilers, splitters, and ride heights in order to change both speed and “feel” inside the race car. Trevor Bayne, interviewed on NASCAR RaceHub, seemed to indicate those adjustments did make the car feel different. But is it better? No one knows quite yet. Cars did try and run side-by-side, waiting out a rain delay to continue under the lights until officials were satisfied with the final results.
Those testing included Brad Keselowski and Trevor Bayne (Ford); Jamie McMurray and Jeff Burton (Chevy); and Denny Hamlin, paired with sub Brett Moffitt (Toyota). NASCAR, pleased at how quickly this operation came together expects to do this type of experimentation several more times in the coming months.
“It is really an exercise in continuous improvement,” explained NASCAR Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development Gene Stefanyshyn. “Our objective is to shake down potential changes, for 2014 with an eye to continue to improve our product on the racetrack.”
There’s no word on when and where the next one of these “experiments” will take place.
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