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Spoilers To Be Tested At Texas On Tuesday

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, January 18 2010
Spoilers will get their first on-track tests on Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Spoilers will get their first on-track tests on Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Fort Worth, Texas – Blade-running will go lap-after-lap with tire-testing beginning Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway.

NASCAR’s new rear spoiler blade package for the Sprint Cup Series’ Car of Tomorrow will get its first on-track test Tuesday and Wednesday on TMS’ 1.5-mile quadoval, track president Eddie Gossage confirmed Monday afternoon.

Gossage said he was informed of NASCAR’s decision to test the spoiler – which eventually will replace the COT’s current rear wing – during an email exchange Sunday night with Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition.

“I was notified by NASCAR they were going to use the spoiler in the test, and I understand it will be exclusively using the spoiler in the test,” said Gossage, suggesting the session could be a harbinger for the Samsung Mobile 500 Cup weekend here April 15-18. “I don’t know when they’re going to implement the spoiler in a race…but we might be one of the first to run with the spoiler.”

Former Cup champions Tony Stewart (Chevrolet) and Kurt Busch (Dodge) will be joined by Greg Biffle (Ford) and Brian Vickers (Toyota) for the session, which will feature each of NASCAR’s manufacturers. In addition to providing information to Goodyear Racing engineers on tire compounds, the drivers also will get to sort out a spoiler NASCAR officials hope will allow for more passing and improve the overall quality of racing.

Cup cars have been utilizing a wing on the rear deck lid since the COT’s debut at the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway in March 2007. Reacting to offseason input from its teams, NASCAR announced last week it planned to test a spoiler configuration common on its stock cars prior to implementation of the COT project. NASCAR announced last week it has scheduled an open Cup test with spoilers for March 23-24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a sister 1.5-mile oval to TMS.

Goodyear engineers conducted a similar two-day tire test at Atlanta Motor Speedway, another sister 1.5-mile facility to TMS, last week. “I know at the test at Atlanta they used the wing exclusively,” Gossage said. “So they may be planning to use the wing at Atlanta. But I think by the time they get here, they may go with the spoiler. We may be first with the spoiler.

“Robin Pemberton couldn’t tell me what the plans were for the race here. But it would stand to reason that they would use it here because they’re testing it here. To do it (test) for the first time anywhere, to my knowledge, that’s big news. And I could be wrong. But I’m unaware that it’s been on a race car on a racetrack.”

Gossage said he was not informed about specific measurements of the spoiler to be run at TMS. “They didn’t tell me how tall or what angle,” Gossage said. “And I don’t know if NASCAR is going to be here.”

According to published reports, the spoiler will be four inches atop the deck lid when measured from the center line. The spoiler will be level across the top with a ground clearance of 43.52 inches from the top of the spoiler to the ground with the chassis on six- and eight-inch blocks. The spoiler will be 64.5 inches wide and one-piece, from right to left, and fabricated from three-sixteenths-of-an-inch aluminum. It will be fixed at 70 degrees.

In another change, each car’s fuel-filler hole must be relocated forward of the lower left tip of the spoiler. Additionally, right and left quarter panel extensions will be added to all cars. The extensions will be four inches long toward the ground at the rear wheel opening.

NASCAR added the modifications will not be used during races until all wind tunnel and on-track tests are completed.

Earlier, Gossage said the drivers scheduled to test at TMS were “A-List” caliber. Stewart, Biffle and Busch each has scored a Cup win at TMS. Stewart, Cup champion in 2002 and 2005, won the 2006 Dickies 500 as a non-Chaser while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Now the owner/driver of Stewart-Haas Racing, Stewart set a track record in ‘06 for most laps-led by a race-winner (278). Biffle, of Roush Fenway Racing, won the 2005 Samsung/Radio Shack 500. Busch, of Penske Racing, won last November’s Dickies 500. Vickers, of Red Bull Racing, owns the Cup track qualifying record of 196.235 mph established during time trials for the 2006 Dickies 500.

All four drivers qualified for the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in 2009. Busch finished fourth, while Stewart placed sixth, Biffle seventh and Vickers a career-best 12th.

The drivers will meet with local media Tuesday evening before participating in a Q&A session with fans as part of an invitation-only “Gear Up For the Green Flag” event at The Speedway Club.

– John Sturbin can be reached at jsturbin@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, January 18 2010