Tuesday marked the first official day that the spoiler was to be tested with a full field of cars on an intermediate test. Drivers were asked to share their thoughts, and most drivers had positive things to say.
"There's not a lot of characteristic differences from the driver's seat," Kevin Harvick said during the break. "They did a good job…biggest question mark is when we drop green at Texas and how they race around each other. There's no way to tell until we get to that point."
Dale Inman, legendary crew chief for Richard Petty, says that the cars are about the same, just faster in the corners, yet slower on the straightaways. However, A.J. Allmendinger feels that there is more down-force, but says they won't know for sure till they race in packs which mostly likely won't happen till Texas.
The biggest thing, however, is the cars feel stable and that's important.
“I was expecting a little bit looser of a race car based off [of] the spoiler [we had] out at Texas,” said Penske Racing’s Kurt Busch. “Today, unloading and getting out on the race track, we were on the tighter side of things. When you have that stability in the car, that’s a good sign."
“Things don’t feel terribly different other than the drag going down the straightaway—the cars have a higher drag.”
Busch says from this point on, it's about building their notebook.
“The car feels stable, which is the best thing, and we’ll go from there,” Busch said. “We’ve got A through Z of things to change on the car. We probably won’t see much speed these next two days. We’re just really trying to dissect the car and find the little things that are going to make positive changes and build our notebook up.
“We’re going to work on [trying] to be good on the short runs on cold tires as well as being good on the long runs. When we race here in the month of May, we have an all-star race that pays a million bucks on short runs and we have a 600-mile race that pays well with points.”
Kurt Busch says he sees the racing being better with the spoiler due to there being more drag which will decrease the speed, improving side by side racing on the straightways. So far he has seen his RPM drop to 9200 from 9400 with the wing.
In addition to the spoiler, NASCAR will require the shark fin. The shark fin has been put in place at every track with the rear spoiler, because side force was lost due to no more end plates. NASCAR notes that the shark fin on rear of the car can be the full length of the decklid or a maximum of 8" short for "tuning" on handling. Kevin Harvick, however, says that he sees no point adjusting it.
“I don’t know why you would want it to be short because it makes side force,” said Richard Childress Racing’s Kevin Harvick.
In Harvick's opinion, the test is a positive and it clears up some questions about the spoiler.
“It was just good to know and to put out of your mind that the spoiler was going to be a drastic difference in the way the car drove and that’s not the case,” Harvick said. “The car has a lot of grip with the tire combination and the spoiler, so it drives really good.”
NASCAR VP of competition Robin Pemberton seemed quite pleased with Tuesday's test and doesn't anticipate more tests in the future. Pemberton also says that teams want to run in packs though they won't allow it to fully happen. However, they may allow teams to run cars of their own together later on.
Kasey Kahne says overall that the test was a good idea.
“It’s definitely a help for all the teams,” said Richard Petty Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne. “You can try some things that will work at Texas [next month] and work at other race tracks as well, and hopefully make gains with the cars.
“The spoiler, to me, feels a bit different. This is the first time I’ve driven it, so down the straightaways it’s a little draggier. The cars feel pretty stuck in the corners, but the tires are a little bit different this year also, so that probably changes that somewhat.”
Juan Pablo Montoya topped the chart in the morning with a speed of 185.976 mph followed by Sam Hornish Jr., David Reuitmann, Brian Vickers, Jamie McMurray, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, and Kyle Busch.
JUSTIN ALLGAIER TRIES OUT THE COT
Fresh off his first career Nationwide win, Justin Allgaier is testing a fourth car for Penske at Charlotte.
“I actually found out just before we were coming to Bristol, and I think that probably helped with the confidence level a little bit, I guess, that we were going to go do a little testing,” Allgaier said. “This was something that had been planned…I am not going to speculate on what their plans are this year.
“My goal obviously is to win a championship on the Nationwide side, so this is just, for me, a way to come out and get laps. I am never going to turn the opportunity down to get in a Cup car."
Every driver is allowed to test in two NASCAR tests before they compete in their first race. This isn't Allgaier's first run in a Cup car, though, as he has tested the car at non-NASCAR tracks.
“I have not really been to a track like here because we don’t have any that I can go to test at,” Allgaier said. “The majority of my testing comes on short tracks, and I think that was one of the plans why to come here.
“You can test short tracks all day long [but] this is what the core of the schedule is going to be if you do get to the Cup side, so how do we get more laps on a race track like this and obviously make myself better?”
Allgaier adds that it'll be good for him in getting experience.
“Obviously when I started at Penske Racing my goal was to reach the Cup level, so for me, this is a good way to come out and get some laps and see what these cars drive like,” said Allgaier, who is in his second year at Penske. “And hopefully we can help out the other guys. I think that’s the biggest thing [is] how do we benefit all three of our Cup teams and get me some experience at the same time? This is the easiest way to do it.”
His times throughout the test ranked right up there with his Penske Racing teammates.
His actual debut date, however, has yet to be determined.
KEVIN HARVICK LETS HIS OPINION FLY
On Monday, when Darrell Waltrip was adding his Mountain Dew car to the Hall of Fame, Waltrip suggested that Dale Earnhardt Jr. drive some Truck races for Kevin Harvick.
"I told (car owner) Rick (Hendrick), and I really, honestly believe this, I'd run him in some truck races," Waltrip said on Monday. "He needs to get somewhere where he can win, and I'd get him in a truck. Not a Nationwide car, a truck. They're fun to drive, have a good time in the truck series. If I was Junior, I'd go talk to (Kevin) Harvick and ask him if I could drive that 2 truck. I'd go out, and I'd win me a couple of races and I think that's what he needs, it would really help his confidence, and I think his fans would enjoy seeing him do that. I think it would be a win-win."
On Tuesday, Kevin Harvick was asked about Waltrip's comments.
"He hasn't been center of attention and Carl (Edwards) and Brad (Keselowski) were, and he thought he ought to get his dog in the fight," he commented.
He also let loose his thoughts on the reaction that came from his comments about Edwards, which you can find here .
"You guys just want it both ways," he said. "You want it so where we give you our opinion and then you guys bury us after we give it to you to make everybody look as bad as possible."
"It's one of those things where you say something and it goes as far as everybody wants to take it. I have an opinion on a lot of things."
"I just quit reading all the crap you guys write," he said.
The next question asked was a question about the spoiler and how things were going with it; his response reminded a lot of people of Tony Stewart.
"A technical question? Today?" Harvick said. "You mean you're not going to try to stir anything up? You should receive a medal."
Teams will be doing another test session tomorrow from 10 a.m. EST to 3 p.m. EST