NASCAR introduces testing ban

In the first major move to cut costs, NASCAR has suspended testing at all tracks where its three national series race in 2009

NASCAR introduces testing ban

Teams in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck series will be banned from testing at any of the venues hosting races during the year. The ban will also include those tracks where the Camping World Series Regional East and West Series compete.

However, teams will be allowed to test at venues like Rockingham, New Smyrna, Caraway Speedway and other tracks where NASCAR doesn't race and is unable to enforce the ruling.

NASCAR estimates that the ruling will save teams $3-4 million a year per car.

The move comes after series bosses had initially planned to expand the current testing policy up to 26 days of running with a maximum of two cars, something the midfield and smaller teams campaigned against.

Budgets had been projected to rise by 20 per cent with the extra testing, but the new limit is set to even out running between the bigger squads and the smaller ones.

"This decision was certainly one that came with a lot of conversation, a lot of discussion, a lot of thought and a lot of input from a lot of different people and stakeholders in the sport," said NASCAR president Mike Helton.

"We've reached it based on the thought that this is the time of the year when race teams need to know what their test policy is to make plans.

"Taking today's circumstances, and looking into the 2009 season, at the things that NASCAR can do to help car owners from a resource aspect, because of the challenging economic circumstances that everybody has, this was something that was timely and relevant."

NASCAR confirmed that the Goodyear tyre testing programme will remain in place and will be the only running teams will do at race venues during the season, although only a selected number of outfits will be able to run in those sessions.

"We have been working with Goodyear to try to spread that out and make it fair and will continue to do that, and probably raise the bar a little bit in 2009 to be sure that the participants of the tyre test get those opportunities spread out," Helton said.

"I think we're still best served by the active teams and drivers in the garage area doing the tyre test, because those are the ones that will be using the tyres and they're the ones that know how to, hopefully, do the proper test to come out with the right answer."

Under the new policy, simuation tools like seven post-test rigs, which are run by most top teams, will probably become key to car development during the 2009 season.

However, Helton believes that will not increase the gap between the top and lesser teams as they will be unable to confront their simulation data as much due to the limited track time.

"You can make that argument, but I think there's another side of that," said Helton. "In order to utilise the engineers and seven post machines and all that, you've still got to have good data. The best data you can get is going to the racetrack.

"So I think you can also make the argument that maybe that closes that gap. But the decision was made based on having to come up with a test policy and knowing that we're going to go into 2009 with some challenging economic circumstances around us. That was driving force behind it at the end of the day."

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