The 2013 Sprint Cup Series cars certainly have garnered a lot of attention for their looks.
But how certain are NASCAR officials that it also will improve the on-track product?
Several drivers, during testing and this week on the Sprint NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, have said they expect better racing.
On Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, NASCAR chairman Brian France and President Mike Helton agreed.
“I don’t know that you ever see enough evidence until you go racing, but certainly the amount of testing that NASCAR has done with the teams to get prepared with this car and work on very specific areas to promote side-by-side racing at tracks other than the superspeedways in particular, has been intense,” Helton said.
“On the computer, in the wind tunnel, at the race shops, at the R&D Center and at the race tracks, there’s never been as much effort put into a car to get it ready to go racing.”
France said it won’t be difficult to judge success.
“I think we’ll measure it by lead changes, we’ll measure it by how it races, we’ll measure it by how the drivers feel about it, and knowing that not everybody will always love every rules package or thing that we do, that’s for sure, but we’ll look at it very simply,” he said.
“Everything is designed to have closer competition, and we’ll see – I’m quite confident that I know we’re going to make improvements.”
France also announced efforts are underway for a system that he hopes will reduce track drying time up to 80 percent.
Harvick wants to leave in style: Kevin Harvick remains tight-lipped about where he would be racing during 2014 but insisted he planned to make his final season at Richard Childress Racing a “character-building year.”
“I want to go out and have fun and hopefully leave this place as good as it was when I got here if not better,” said Harvick, who is expected to join Stewart-Haas Racing next year.
“You want to do everything to participate in everything you can do to make the cars as fast as you can. I have a lot of friends here and I want to leave here with it that way.”
Harvick was the only RCR driver to win a 2012 Cup race and that was the next-to-last event at Phoenix after he had reunited with crew chief Gil Martin. Martin and Harvick will work together again this season.
Harvick began his career with RCR during 1999, running the fall race at Rockingham in what now is known as the Nationwide Series. In 2001, he took over Dale Earnhardt’s Cup car after Earnhardt was killed in a last-lap wreck in the Daytona 500.
“It’s been a great journey but sometimes you just need a change in pace to keep the enthusiasm where it needs to be,” Harvick said. “Change can’t be bad.”
Buy a ticket, win a car: Bruton Smith has come up with a fast way to sell tickets to the March 17 Cup race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. He will give away 10 2013 Ford Mustangs to ticket buyers to the race.
“This is something really exciting for our race fans and it just gives them something else to look forward to when they get here,” said track general manager Jerry Caldwell. “It really can’t get much better than seeing a race at Bristol and winning a car.”
A new Daytona? Daytona International Speedway unveiled artist renderings of a proposed redevelopment of the 53-year-old Florida track. The plan calls for five new entrances, a second pedestrian bridge and an expanded grandstand area with thousands of new seats. The project, if approved, also would have upgraded concession areas, ticket gates and more common areas from which to view the race. The project will be put on the back burner until after the Feb. 24 Daytona 500. Associated Press