Movin’ On Up: NASCAR Nationwide Series Progresses To Intermediate Track
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 13, 2008) – The progression has begun for the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ new car.
Last month, the car made its test debut on the .75-mile track at Richmond International Raceway.
Monday, it made its move to Lowe’s Motor Speedway, one of eight 1.5-mile tracks that plays host to the series.
“Things have progressed quite nicely,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “All of the manufacturers are out there today with, I think for the most part, the cars the teams used at the test at Richmond last month. It’s early yet, but everything’s quite favorable. The car turns well in the middle of the corner and they just continue to work on it.
“The teams are fairly happy right now with the way the test has gone for the first half of the first day.”
Seven teams representing the series’ four manufacturers were on track for Monday’s test – Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates; JD Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing; Roush Fenway Racing (two teams) and Michael Waltrip Racing. All but JGR were at Richmond for the inaugural test.
Pemberton said the number of participating teams was on par with previous tests for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series new car. Where six or seven cars may seem to be a low number, numerous drivers have moved between the cars in order to get track time in the new car. At the height of new car testing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway in 2006, Pemberton noted 12 cars were involved.
Monday’s drivers included Bryan Clauson for CGRFS; Joey Logano and Kyle Busch for JGR; Mark Green and Morgan Shepherd for JDM, Stephen Leicht for RCR; Colin Braun, Carl Edwards and David Ragan for RFR, while David Reutimann and Josh Wise were on hand for MWR.
“This car feels pretty good. It’s a lot faster than I thought it was going to be,” said Edwards, the reigning series champion. “It’s a little different than the other cars we ran (at Richmond). They’re two different tracks but the car felt good at both of them.
“It seems like it has a little more front downforce which makes it turn real well. That’s good at a place like this where it seems like you can’t ever get them to turn. It’s nice to have a car that turns like that.
"The body styles are kinda cool on them,” Logano said. “I think they're different, (they) look a lot like the street car which is pretty neat."
Pemberton likes the look of the car as well, but stressed that the manufacturers are far from finished with their work.
“What you see out there is there are some that are fairly generic; none of the manufacturers have submitted their absolute final piece yet. I will have to say that the Dodge looks really nice – it’s got a nice pony car look to it. But even that’s not their final submission piece.”
The Richmond test was the first time the new car performed on the track. This week’s test may be the first time cars run together in traffic. The next step in the progression will come sometime in 2009 as the series works toward a full roll-out by the first race of the season at Daytona International Speedway in 2010.
“It’s not necessarily the new car, but having the opportunity to bring all of the safety initiatives – 100% of them – over to the Nationwide Series after a full year in the Cup Series is really the most important thing,” Pemberton said.
Tuesday is the final day of testing this season for the NASCAR Nationwide Series new car – and also is the final official test for each of NASCAR’s three national series in 2008. The garage at LMS opens at 7 a.m. with the morning session taking place from 9 a.m. – noon and the afternoon session from 1 – 5 p.m. The garage closes at 5:30 p.m.
This also is the final open week of 2008 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Racing resumes Oct. 25 at Memphis Motorsports Park, the final stand-alone event of the season.
NASCAR Nationwide Series New Car Test At Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Dates: Monday, Oct. 13 through Tuesday, Oct. 14 (Rain date: Wednesday, Oct. 15)
Garage Opens: 7 a.m.
Practice: 9 a.m. – Noon
Break: Noon - 1 p.m.
Practice: 1 - 5 p.m.
Garage Closes: 5:30 p.m.
What: NASCAR Nationwide Series new car test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Track Layout: 1.5-mile oval.
When: Monday, Oct. 13 through Tuesday, Oct. 14.
Times: 9 a.m. – noon; 1 – 5 p.m. each day.
Scheduled Teams / Drivers: Bryan Clauson (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates); Kyle Busch, Joey Logano (Joe Gibbs Racing); Mark Green, Morgan Shepherd (JD Motorsports); Stephen Leicht (Richard Childress Racing); Colin Braun, Erik Darnell, Carl Edwards, David Ragan (Roush Fenway Racing); David Reutimann, Josh Wise (Michael Waltrip Racing).