NASCAR & Auto Racing

Teams putting NASCAR's newest new car through paces

Race weekend is over, but NASCAR's work at Lowe's Motor Speedway continues.

For the second time this season, NASCAR is hosting a test session for the new car in its second-tier Nationwide Series – a car much like the Sprint Cup Series car used today but with its own distinctive traits.

The two-day test, which features seven teams and all four manufacturers in the series, will conclude today. NASCAR conducted a test last month at Richmond (Va.) International Speedway. On Monday, teams made mostly single-car runs.

“Things have progressed quite nicely. It's early yet, but everything is quite favorable,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition. “The teams seem to be pleased with how the test is going.”

The series' new car is wider and utilizes a front splitter much like the current Cup car. Rather than a wing attached to the trunk, the Nationwide car still will employ a spoiler but with a much different shape than currently used.

Pemberton said the new car was developed to include all of the safety features of the new Cup car, plus make some changes to the aerodynamics. The car, which won't be used in competition until 2010, should be easier to handle than its counterpart in Cup, he said.

“The chassis development is all done. We have been in the wind tunnel with all of the (car) makes. Not all of manufacturers are done and we're not ready for final submissions, yet,” he said.

“I think it was key to come to Charlotte and get a mile-and-a-half track under our belts to see what area the manufacturers need to work in, which is probably car handling. There are some cars here that are fairly generic-looking but I will have to say the Dodge looks really nice.”

The Dodge car has a front nose with a distinct “pony car” design, much like the class of cars inspired by the 1964 Ford Mustang.

Pemberton said NASCAR's objective was to keep the Nationwide car distinctly different than the new Cup car so drivers running both series would not be able to use one car set-up in another.

“If you had to categorize it I would say it falls in between the current Nationwide car and the new Cup car in how it handles,” said Bryan Clausen, a Nationwide Series driver for Chip Ganassi Racing who also has tested the new Cup car.

“I think you'll still be able to use some of the stuff your Cup car does, but you definitely won't be able to carry the amount of information over (to the Nationwide car) like you could with the old Cup car.”

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