By NASCAR Wire Service
September 29, 2012 3:54 PM, EDT
DOVER, Del. -- For the first time since 2008, NASCAR will allow Sprint Cup organizations to test independently at tracks that host events in the top three touring series.
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition said Saturday at Dover International Speedway that each Cup organization -- regardless of how many cars it fields -- will be allowed four tests of its choosing at NASCAR tracks.
"It's up to them to pick where they want to go," Pemberton said. "We feel like it's time to open that up and allow the teams to manage their testing and get back on facilities that host our events. You'll see that as the year unfolds, that teams will be moving around the countryside."
In November 2008, as a cost-saving measure, NASCAR placed a ban on testing at tracks that host races in the top three series. That didn't prevent teams from doing independent testing at other non-NASCAR tracks.
The relaxed testing policy coincides with the introduction of a new generation Cup car for 2013. NASCAR will conduct a test for the new cars -- Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry -- Wednesday at Talladega Superspeedway.
According to Pemberton, the majority of that test will involve the performance of the cars in the draft.
"When we go to Talladega, we're going to concentrate on the cooling package, the drafting package," Pemberton said. "The handling is really the least of the issues down there... It's about working on the drafting package for Talladega -- and Daytona."
The four tests allocated to each organization next year are in addition to the Preseason Thunder test to be conducted by NASCAR during the second week of January.
Cup teams also will test at Texas Motor Speedway, newly repaved Kansas Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway this year. Those tests are scheduled Goodyear tire tests, but each organization also will be allowed to bring and gather data on one 2013 car in preparation for the car's full-time debut next year.
"Teams are invited to go help us with the tire test," Pemberton said, "Because we are developing this car and tires at the same time."
There are a number of ways to look at this. With the new car next year, this should be good for the teams. But the smaller teams that don't have as much funding could be in a real bind. I guess we'll have to wait and see. I'm glad the additional testing is back but it doesn't bode well for the little guys.