Weather puts damper on Cup testing at Charlotte

The first day of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing in Charlotte was cancelled because of the weather. The Friday sessions have been extended for the Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota teams.

Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams hope to test for the second the second week in a row, following up last week's three-day test at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway with one day of testing at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Friday. Charlotte testing was originally scheduled to get underway on Thursday and last through Friday. But weather modified the schedule, cancelling track activity for Thursday and modifying the planned schedule for Friday. Friday's schedule has been changed, with a morning session on the docket for 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET and an afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET. The new Friday schedule extends the on-track time for the day to partially make up for the cancellation of track time on Thursday.

Until we get in race conditions, we won't know.

Bobby Labonte

Teams are using the higher than normal number of offseason track and NASCAR-hosted track sessions to get adjusted to the new Gen-6 car, set to hit the track for competition next month during NASCAR Speedweeks at Daytona. Several teams tested the new car at Charlotte in December.

"I think things are coming around pretty good for our race team," Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota said. "We were at the test here back in December, and we brought the same car back here today. I think as far as progress goes with our race team, we've seen a lot of good things in our shop and the car, itself. The times that we've been testing, it seems to be okay."

According to Labonte, the new car felt similar during the previous test session at Charlotte as it did when team raced the previous car at the track last October. But he also thinks it's too early to tell how this new car is going to affect different driving styles.

"It's not like a big change, because it still kind of feels the same as it did with the old car here a few months ago," Labonte said. "Until we get in race conditions, we won't know."

Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Getty Images

Labonte also thinks that performance when cars are, hopefully, able to take the track on Friday is by no means a predicator as to how the 2013 season will go.

"There's no doubt that there's probably a little bit of tweaking of the rules before we'd come to the Last Vegas race (first race at a mile-and-a-half track like Charlotte)," Labonte said. "If there's anything like that, that could happen and somebody had something to take away. I think the preparation from the race team and the skill set that each race team puts out there, if you're -- I don't think the fastest guy out here tomorrow will be on the list. That's just like Daytona is the first day of school. You can make a lot out of it, but I don't know it's going to be true. If you see the lineup tomorrow afternoon, you're going to say that's the way it's going to be for the year -- there's no way it can be."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kasey Kahne
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , JTG Daugherty Racing
Article type Testing report
Tags charlotte, chevrolet, ford, nascar-cup, testing, toyota