LAS VEGAS – The new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gen-6 car prepares for its intermediate track debut as teams “rolled the dice” on various set ups during testing Thursday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Intermediate style tracks make up the bulk of the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule and teams were given an extra day to fine-tune their machines before the Kobalt Tools 400 on Sunday.
“We’ve scheduled a few of these early test sessions at some of our race tracks” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “It gives the teams an opportunity to get the best information they can to prepare for the upcoming weekend’s race. All in all things are going pretty smoothly.”
Aric Almirola is off to a strong start in 2013. The Richard Petty Motorsports driver is currently 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings and his team used the added track time to gather data and prepare for the race on Sunday.
“We went through a pretty big test plan this morning” Almirola said. “We’re just trying to gather data on this new car and work out some things that we were unsure of. We had some ideas we brought from the Charlotte test and we came here to try and verify them and figure out if they were going to work or not.”
Pemberton stated that the teams continue to “push the limits of their equipment.”
“So far, everyone seems to be doing their job,” said Pemberton. “Speeds are right in the range that we expected to see for the first day. They (speeds) may increase tomorrow. Today is a test day; I think tomorrow will be a better day for the speeds.”
Clint Bowyer is hoping he can keep the momentum going after the “west-coast swing.” Today’s test provided key track time to help the No. 15 team stay in the top five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
“This west coast swing is important,” said Bowyer. “It is so important to get that momentum in the points race; we have already seen teams struggle the first two races and get themselves behind. Points are hard to accumulate and if you have two bad races in a row, that is a month of really solid runs to get you back where you need to be.”
Greg Biffle recorded the fastest lap of the day in the afternoon test session at 189.427 mph, lapping the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in just 28.507 seconds. Biffle’s former teammate Matt Kenseth was fastest in the morning session, clocking in at 187.396 mph.