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Woody: New Testing Policy Doesn’t Add Up

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, September 29 2009
Testing for Sprint Cup cars has been expanded to more tracks, but is it a good move? (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

Testing for Sprint Cup cars has been expanded to more tracks, but is it a good move? (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

Larry Woody | Senior Writer

I’m not sure who’s in charge of accounting at NASCAR, but they might want to change the batteries in their calculator. I’m not sure it’s calculating.

NASCAR, which at the end of last season curtailed (but not entirely eliminated) testing as a cost-cutting measure, has announced that it will be permitted next year on an array of certain tracks.

Specifically, teams can do unlimited testing on any NASCAR-sanctioned track that doesn’t host a NASCAR national touring series race.

In other words, teams can spend all the dough they want at certain tracks, but not a cent on others.

Am I missing something here? Teams aren’t allowed to spend a dollar testing at Daytona but they can spend a million testing at Greenville-Pickens.

I don’t get it. A dollar spent is a dollar spent, regardless of WHERE it’s spent. Where’s the savings?

From the outset, I thought a test ban – if enforced – was a good move. It might help level the playing field a bit between the haves and have-nots of the sport.

Has restricting testing hurt the racing or dampened the competition? Not that I can tell. The same teams that used to dominate continue to dominate. They’re simply dominating at (theoretically) less cost.

Let’s be honest: unlimited testing isn’t necessary. Race teams are like football coaches when it comes to practice – they’d do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week if they could.

Instead of giving rich teams virtual carte blanch to test all they want, NASCAR would be better served to allow each team a certain amount of test dates as used to be the case. Set the number of test sessions a car could have – on any and all tracks — and enforce it. If some fat-cat team gets caught cheating with extra tests, nail it to the wall. Park it for one race. That’ll deter future cheating.

Of course the mega-teams will still have a huge advantage because if they have, say, four cars, they can share the information and data from each of the four car’s test sessions.

But that’s still better than simply throwing the barn door open and in effect declaring open season on testing.

It’s not as though the mega-teams don’t enjoy an insurmountable advantage already; the new testing policy will add to their edge while greatly increasing expenses for the have-nots.

Apparently NASCAR decided that the sport’s strugglers and stragglers aren’t going broke fast enough.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, September 29 2009
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