NASCAR are changing some of their rules for next season with regards to testing. They will no longer allow any private testing, including during the Daytona 500 when a lot of provate testing does go on. Anyone caught doing this will have the largest possible penalty. There is a new penalty system and the P6 is the highest which means that there is a 150 point loss, $150,000 fine as a minimum and a six week suspension for the chief of the crew as well as other members. This is obviously huge and so shows how important it is to NASCAR that these rules are not broken
Testing will be allowed but only is session that are conducted by NASCAR themselves or by Goodyear. The executive vice president and chief of racing development for NASCAT, Steve O’Donnell, explained that teams are likely to police themselves and report any other teams that they catch breaking this rule.
Traditionally there was a three day annual test in January in Daytona which was about promoting the new season as well as getting drivers back in the mood for driving again after the break between seasons. Instead there will be a promotional tour across the country which will be used to promote the season in the same way that the 16 drivers that made it to the Chase toured around race markets this year.
I had been suggested by the Race Team Alliance, which formed this year and is a group of team owners working together to reduce costs, that the testing in Daytona was expensive. O’Donnell stated that the decision was made in consultation with the whole industry.
Brian Pattie, crew chief for Clint Bowyer, explained that it was good as it saved money for everyone especially the smaller teams that may not have the funds to test anyway.
There are also changes in other rules as well. Qualifying has changed in that there will be group qualifying rather than single car runs. The engine horsepower is being reduced as well as the rear spoiler being made smaller. Cars will slow by 5-7 mph and the aim is to help drivers pass each other more easily. Jimmie Johnson said that this would make the cars harder to drive but that drivers did not mind that.
They will also introduce rain tyres in the Sprint Cup races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen; these have been used on road races in the Nationwide and Truck series and fans really like it.