NASCAR sent out a press release today announcing that its 2010 testing policy will remain similar to the one put in place for this season.
Under the 2010 testing rules, tracks that host national series events (Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World Trucks, East, and West Series) will be unavailable for testing for the second year in a row.
This move was initially made for two reasons: to cut costs in a weak sponsor market, and because plenty of teams are able to utilize seven-post shaker rigs to "test" cars, anyway.
The one change in the policy, however, deals with tracks hosting regional series events. NASCAR teams will now be able to test at these tracks, provided that they do not also host national series events.
Some of the tracks in question, like South Boston Speedway in Virginia, Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina, and the Music City Motorplex in Nashville, Tennessee, have rich NASCAR traditions going back to the 1950s and '60s.
Those three tracks all hosted Grand National (now Sprint Cup) events into at least the 1970s. South Boston hosted Nationwide and Truck Series events up until 2003.
Reportedly, the move was made to give teams closer testing options than New Smyrna Speedway in Florida. Most teams are based in the Mooresville, NC area, just over 500 miles away from the .47-mile track.
In comparison, the Music City Motorplex is about 400 miles away, South Boston is just over 150, and Greenville-Pickens is only 100 miles from Mooresville.
While the implementation of unrestricted testing remains nowhere in sight, it's a step in the right direction that NASCAR has eased the ban ever so slightly. It offers teams with devoted testing departments hope that someday their jobs will be as useful as they once were.
Expensive as it is, and unfairly biased towards the rich teams as it can get, devoted testing programs create jobs for NASCAR professionals. With so many qualified people out of jobs, the industry can use whatever stimulation it gets, and the big teams have enough money to run such programs.
Not only that, it's not as if the information wouldn't get out anyway, with all these alliances and whatnot...