More than 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams put 49 cars on track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the first day of a two-day test session devoted to spoiler work and preparation for the May 30 Coca-Cola 600.
Spoilers will replace the current wings on the backs of NASCAR Sprint Cup cars beginning this weekend at Martinsville. The test at Charlotte Motor Speedway gives teams and officials the opportunity to fine-tune variables. Across the board drivers agreed that the spoiler helped with the handling of the car, but that the true test of the change from the wing to the spoiler would take place once the cars got on track during race conditions.
“For me personally it was good to know and put out of my mind that the spoiler was going to be a drastic difference in the way the car drove,” said Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. “That is not the case. The car has a lot of grip with the tire combination and the spoiler so it drives really good.”
“Being more stable with higher drag, I think you’re going to see a lot more side-by-side racing,” said Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge.
“The test is helping us to learn more about the handling of the race car with the new spoiler and also it’s like a normal track test session for us,” said Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, who posted the fastest speed of the day with a time of 29.036 and speed of 185.976. “The cars are a lot slower in traffic with the spoiler but aside from that it handles pretty much the same. We’ll use the information we’ve gathered for a little bit of everything including the upcoming races at Charlotte.”
Robin Pemberton, vice president for competition with NASCAR, said that the test at Charlotte Motor Speedway would likely be the only test for the new spoiler on a 1.5-mile track.
“Right now drivers are confident their teams have done the right things and done their homework,” he said. “Our hats are off to the teams. They’ve done a good job of being prepared for this.”
The top Dodge and second-fastest overall speed belonged to Penske Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. in the No. 77 with a time of 29.049 and speed of 185.893. Third-fastest overall was the No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota driven by David Reutimann, which was the fastest Toyota of the day with a time of 29.054 and a speed of 185.861. The fastest Ford belonged to Paul Menard, driver of the No. 98 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford who topped the afternoon speed chart with a time of 29.140 and a speed of 185.312.
During the test session, fans were given an opportunity to watch their favorite Sprint Cup drivers from the grandstands, which were open for free. Ticket holders to any Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway were granted special access to watch testing from a VIP area in the infield. Over the lunch break, more than 200 ticket holders also got the chance to participate in a Q&A session with drivers Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton, and John Darby, NASCAR’s managing director of competition.
Day two of the test session will take place Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The VIP fan seating area located behind pit road near Victory Circle will be open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for 2010 Charlotte Motor Speedway Sprint Cup race ticket holders. A fan forum with NASCAR drivers Kurt Busch and Marcos Ambrose, and NHRA driver Tony Schumacher is scheduled to take place on pit road between 12:15 and 1 p.m. Grandstands will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. free of charge to all fans.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is the home of NASCAR’s biggest back-to-back race weekends with the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 22, and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 30. Tickets and interest-free payment plans are available by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway by following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.
Morning Session – Top 10 Speeds
1. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevy 29.036 185.976
2. 77 Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 29.049 185.893
3. 00 David Reutimann Toyota 29.054 185.861
4. 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 29.060 185.822
5. 1 Jamie McMurray Chevy 29.089 185.637
6. 5B Mark Martin Chevy 29.164 185.160
7. 5 Mark Martin Chevy 29.174 185.096
8. 24 Jeff Gordon Chevy 29.179 185.065
9. 33 Clint Bowyer Chevy 29.213 184.849
Afternoon Session – Top 10 Speeds
1. 98 Paul Menard Ford 29.140 185.312
2. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevy 29.383 183.780
3. 39 Ryan Newman Chevy 29.514 182.964
4. 1 Jamie McMurray Chevy 29.524 182.902
5. 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 29.538 182.815
6. 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 29.543 182.784
7. 33 Clint Bowyer Chevy 29.545 182.772
8. 48B Jimmie Johnson Chevy 29.590 182.494
9. 5B Mark Martin Chevy 29.594 182.469
10. 31B Jeff Burton Chevy 29.598 182.445