NASCAR's commitment to safety and drivers was demonstrated Friday at Texas Motor Speedway when Michael McDowell walked away from a colossal Sprint Cup Series crash during qualifying.
Along with the SAFER barrier, head and neck restraints, improved seat technology and God's own grace, the car was part of an equation that did not produce tragic results. NASCAR deserves a full measure of credit for that.
Now, it's time for NASCAR to demonstrate a further commitment by letting teams test the car, in use at all tracks for the first time this year, over the coming weeks at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Cup teams don't know how to make this car act like they want it to on intermediate tracks of 1.5 miles or so.
Carl Edwards and his team have found something, for sure, but the sport needs proficiency beyond a team or two.
Facing a tough economy, NASCAR can't afford for the racing to be as non-compelling as it was Sunday at Texas over the long haul.
But NASCAR doesn't need to start changing rules, either. Teams have spent money and time working on the package as it exists. The teams that have some things figured out shouldn't be asked to give that up, and teams that can't solve this puzzle don't need to be handed a completely new one to work on.
NASCAR says it is confident teams eventually will know this car as well as the one abandoned after last season.
These are the best people who have ever worked on stock cars, and given time they will develop an expertise.But time is money. The sport can't afford to stumble through a season or more while teams work out the car's kinks.
Teams are working hard. Computer simulations and all kinds of engineering expertise are being brought to bear. That produces setups that work in theory, but those must be verified in real life. So teams burn up the highways to Kentucky and Nashville, Tenn., and other tracks outside the jurisdiction of NASCAR's testing limits.
The next track where the car will be used for the first time is Lowe's Motor Speedway for two races during May.
In the five weekends between now and then, the Concord track should be open as often as possible for Cup teams to test as they please.
Virtually all teams are based in this area, so they could without great expense use the speedway as a laboratory to develop their base of knowledge about the car.
NASCAR should open every track where the car has not been raced a day early to allow testing, but that's a bigger step than just allowing testing here. If teams get six, eight or 10 days at Lowe's Motor Speedway, they'd certainly know more about the car than they do.
Maybe the races here still wouldn't be great, but at least NASCAR would be giving teams the opportunity to provide good racing.
It at least has to be worth a try.