DAVIDSON – The offseason didn’t last long for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series teams.
The sport makes its return to Daytona International Speedway for the start of preseason testing beginning Jan. 9, when the Sprint Cup drivers spend the first of two days shaking down cars on the track.
The Nationwide Series has its test days Jan. 11-12, followed by the Camping World Truck Series on Jan. 13-14.
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast both days of Sprint Cup testing live 1-5 p.m. The network is also scheduled to cover Nationwide testing 3-7 p.m. Jan. 11.
Huntersville-based Joe Gibbs Racing – which has three teams in Sprint Cup, three in Nationwide and a Truck Series alliance with Kyle Busch Motorsports – figures to be one of the busiest organizations throughout the week.
There will be plenty of Sprint Cup teams on track who will be looking to find a competitive edge with the series’ new chassis package.
NASCAR Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development Gene Stefanyshyn said the adjustments to the second-year Gen 6 car should make for more competitive racing in 2014.
While qualifying speeds were up in 2013 – more than half of the sport’s tracks had their qualifying records shattered – on-track passes for the lead still weren’t up to par.
Front Row Motorsports driver David Gilliland said the cars’ adjustments, which were first tested last month at Charlotte Motor Speedway, are a step in the right direction.
“The drivers feel very good about the car,” he said. “They do indicate that sometimes when they get into heavy traffic, the car does get a bit unpredictable and less stable. So we're hoping that (the chassis setups) will, in fact, provide the drivers with more confidence in these types of congested environments to drive harder and be (more) willing to pass.”
NASCAR expects speeds to be even higher this year at its intermediate and short tracks. Fortunately for Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and other local teams, the cars at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway won’t see major changes in the test session to kick off the new season.
“The things we've worked on (at the Charlotte test) won't affect (Daytona and Talladega) or those venues,” Stefanyshyn said.
The Sprint Cup Series season begins with the non-points Sprint Unlimited on Feb. 15.