NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will get some extra time on the track this week at the repaved Kansas Speedway.
What impact will that have? I think it’s huge. It’s one of those situations where most of the teams will tell you that even though it puts a little extra load on you trying to get everything down and not get worn out, at the same time you always go in there with a little bit of caution because it challenges you whether to run your backup car.
Most people’s backup car is equal to or very much set up like the primary and you don’t want to run the risk of tearing it up – so there’s a little bit of concern but there’s also the fact that you can learn so much more in that day, day and a half that they are going to get all the information they can, then roll right into the race.
Most crew chiefs will tell you, this is not a bad thing. It challenges the engineers because they have to break down a lot of information to do a lot of simulation as they acquire the data to make sure everything is correct.
The racetrack is going to change some, but it’s not going to be a dramatic change like if we tested two or three weeks or months out, you never know how much this racetrack is going to change.
This is one of those times that you can really see the evoluation as far as how the track takes rubber, how the heat will challenge it as far as the course of the day.
So it’s really a good thing. If you’re going to make changes with progressive banking and the repave all at one time, this is about as good a way as you can test and get prepared for a race as there is.
I really wish we had that back in my time. So many times we had to plan way ahead, we didn’t have as many cars, as many people, so it really challenged us to be able to go and do a test and feel like the information we were able to amass was valid.
We’re going to see the really good teams, the ones that have the depth and the engineering staff and the depth of the mechanics that are there and the people that have the better simulation, they are going to shine.
With that being said, you’ve got to believe that Hendrick Motorsports is going to shine, you’ve got to believe that Joe Gibbs Racing is going to shine. You’ve got to believe this is going to play into the hands of Michael Waltrip Racing. That’s one of the things that Michael did this year was try to beef up his staff as far as engineers, bringing in some folks from Formula One, bringing in competition director Scott Miller to handle some of the processing that they go through.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out and who struggles and who doesn’t.