LAS VEGAS -- Travel included, the time gap between standing on the stage at Wynn Las Vegas and sitting behind the wheel of a car at Charlotte Motor Speedway will amount to less than 60 hours.
With the crowning of six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson still looming large in the rear-view mirror, roughly 25 drivers will assemble Monday at CMS to validate potential changes to the Gen-6 race car for 2014, changes designed to make intermediate speedway racing closer and more competitive.
The test follows an initial gathering of data in October, also at Charlotte.
"We had the test in October, we had six cars, and we learned quite a bit," said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR vice president of innovation and racing development. "We were generally looking at aerodynamic and chassis changes. I think we’ve got some very good insight, and now we’ve determined that we’ve got to bring a bigger pool of cars together.
"We think right now we’re going to have about 25 cars participate, so we’ll have a bigger field to validate some of the changes we’re anticipating for 2014."
As Stefanyshyn said, most of the changes will deal with aero packages, but NASCAR also will test tapered spacers on the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars to measure the effects of reduced horsepower. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series both use tapered spacers as part of their engine packages.
NASCAR has reviewed potential configurations and provided test plans to the teams, including detailed CAD drawings of parts that needed to be created or fabricated.
"Some of those we will provide," Stefanyshyn said. "Some they will fabricate."
During the eight-hour test, NASCAR plans to run four different configurations in an attempt to arrive at a 2014 package that will reduce the aerodynamic disadvantage of trailing cars.
"It’s interesting," Kyle Busch said after Thursday’s NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon at Wynn Las Vegas. "When you get out front, you haul the mail. But then, when you get back in eighth, 10th, 12th, 15th, you’re wrecking sideways, whatever it may be, but you’re stuck."