Daytona, we’ve got a problem: NASCAR team tests with help of NASA
When it comes to testing, many NASCAR teams head to places such as Road America, Nashville, or a variety of other racing facilities sprinkled across the country.
Yet for one team, they took their test session to a whole new level — space.
On March 11, an unidentified NASCAR team tested the 3.2-mile Shuttle Landing Facility runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
According to the NASA release, on the same day, the space agency tested the experimental Morpheus lander, Starfighters Aerospace tested "modified jet fighters through their afterburner evaluations, and medical evacuation helicopters conducting safety checks and procedure tests."
— Morpheus Lander (@MorpheusLander) March 12, 2014
This flurry of activity was taking place at the same time the facility was under construction.
The uniqueness of the March 11 test day was that the runway was used by a multitude of people for a variety of reasons. Prior to March 11, the facility made famous by rocket launches and space shuttle landings was used by only one group at a time.
While this particular test was the first to mention a NASCAR team, the Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility has hosted "car tests" in the past. It is unclear whether any of these previous tests were conducted by NASCAR teams or not, and attempts to contact NASA were not returned at time of publication.
In the past, teams have used large facilities such as the Toyota’s North America Proving Grounds in Arizona for test purposes such as these.
The risk that goes along with high-speed testing at a facility in the desert of Arizona is wild animals may venture onto the track, as Brad Coleman and one unlucky coyote found out the hard way in 2009.
We’re still waiting to hear if any ETs were harmed in the recent test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.