Redesigned race cars that will debut next season in the 55th running of the Daytona 500 got its first taste of restrictor plate racing today as seven teams put the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car through its paces at Talladega Superspeedway.
Teams tested the 2013 model, which will highlight greater brand identity for the series’ manufacturers, searching for data on aerodynamics, cooling and drivability. The new-look cars turned competitive laps while drafting and in single-car runs.
NASCAR officials, who also analyzed engine restrictor plates and drafting performance, were pleased with the early results.
“With a different car, we’ll look at what it’s going to take for [restrictor] plate size and some other things, but the main concern is how the cars draft, how they react in the draft, and obviously to get more one-on-one racing,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “All of the input that we have from the drivers and the teams so far has been pretty good.”
The series’ automakers, which have worked extensively with NASCAR to bring the new NASCAR Sprint Cup car to life, were well-represented at the 2.66-mile track:
“NASCAR’s working really hard to make them drive better and make the races more exciting,” Kahne said. “Right there, we had five or six of us out there and it was actually pretty dicey and pretty exciting. We’re definitely going in the right direction and that’s great from a drivers’ standpoint because we’re going to be able to race and pass more, and it’s awesome from a fans’ standpoint because they’re going to get a much better show all the time.”
The new car design will kick off the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season Feb. 24 at Daytona International Speedway with the Daytona 500, stock-car racing’s premier event.