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Reaction to NASCAR test ban

Testing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and two regional series – the NASCAR Camping World East and West Regional Touring Series – will be banned for 2009 at tracks hosting events in those series.
The following is reaction from members of the NASCAR community:

MIKE HELTON, president of NASCAR:
    "Hopefully, it’s a temporary situation. The ultimate decision was that the best-case scenario was no means no, and it being applied across the board for the entire season. There are other ways we can promote the start of the season."

RAY EVERNHAM, co-owner of Gillett Evernham Racing:
    “I think it’s good. NASCAR is making an attempt. At a time where costs need to be reduced, they’re taking action. I’m sure with any other changes, there are going to be some adjustments made, but they’re taking some action to help reduce the cost and I know for a fact that one of the biggest costs is testing.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, driver, Hendrick Motorsports:
    “I think it’s a mistake. I think the teams need a chance to work on their cars to improve their programs, to put on a better show. If we had this rule the start of this year with all the development work that needed to be done with the car not only for (our) team but the whole series I don’t think we’d be where we are today.
    “I do understand and recognize that we need to cut expenses. I feel a good compromise of the two would be to allow the teams to run data acquisitions on Friday. We can get it off the cars, we can adjust the schedule and make it work and let the teams have a chance to collect data to make these cars better.
    “It doesn’t look like that’s the case and now we’re going to need to focus on other ways to collect data or to create simulation programs or machines to create on-track activity and then test at tracks that may not work and on tires that we won’t race on and try to find a base line. It’s going to slow things down and make them more expensive and limit some guys but we still have to get on the track and work. We still have to test. We cannot sit still and we won’t.”

CLINT BOWYER, driver, Richard Childress Racing:
    “Good decision, good for NASCAR. We have to save our team owners and sponsors some money and that is a good way to do it.”

MATT KENSETH, driver, Roush Fenway Racing:
    “I think the testing thing will be all right. I think either way it might even make the racing better.”

BOBBY LABONTE, driver, Petty Enterprises:
    “This is an unprecedented time in NASCAR. It makes sense that NASCAR had to do something different to try and help the teams. They can’t control the cost of the teams and what they spend, but I hope NASCAR can help control a major chunk until the storm is over – hopefully this rule will accomplish that.”

JEFF GORDON, driver, Hendrick Motorsports:
    “In some ways I think it’s great, especially with the economy and trying to do some cost-savings will definitely save the teams.
“I’m trying to figure out which tracks we’ll be able to test at and whether that means we’ll be testing less but traveling more.
    “(Crew chiefs) want to get ahead of the competition. If you get behind, you’ve got to catch back up. You’ve got to do it somehow. Usually on the track is the best way to do it, so I’m just curious to see how it all unfolds and I’m curious to see a little bit more of the details behind it.”

CARL EDWARDS, driver, Roush Fenway Racing:
    “I think it’s a great move by NASCAR. I think that gives a little bit of relief to the teams, as far as expenses, and the team owners. That’s a good thing. It’ll make it a little easier on all the guys.”

KEVIN HARVICK, driver, Richard Childress Racing:
    “From a driver’s perspective I guess we get to be home a lot more. I think all the drivers would say that we tested too much and the crew chiefs would say we didn’t test enough. It’s a fine line to how much testing and we’re still going to probably do things and I think you’re going to have to adjust your engineering departments to make up for the lack of testing on the race track to do more things off the race track.”
    “I think the big teams and the good teams no matter what rules you put on them and no matter what point system you put on them the good teams are still going to rise to the top … the good teams are still going to be good and the bad teams are still going to be bad.”

PAT TRYSON, crew chief for Kurt Busch, Penske Racing
    “It’s got pluses and minuses. Times are tough right now, so it’s probably not that bad a thing for most people. Obviously, we’d like to be testing but at the same time, it (testing policy) is the same for everybody. I think it will be fair. It may make the racing better with nobody having the opportunity to test.”

ROBBIE LOOMIS, executive, Petty Enterprises:
    “If NASCAR were to open it up, teams were going to have to have extra trucks and trailers and extra personnel. Now you’ll see it in engineering; more shops that are tool-based. I think you’ll see more of the engineers stepping out to have the setups and a lot of simulation work will be done before we get to the track.”
    “Rookies is what it’s going to kill. Rookies like (Joey) Logano need to spend a little bit more time in Nationwide and I think a rule like this will make people look at them a little different before they bring their driver up. Jimmie Johnson was in Nationwide a couple years before he came to Cup. But when Jimmie Johnson came here, he was ready to go.”

JEFF BURTON, driver, Richard Childress Racing:
    “I do believe that we are at time in our sport where we’ve got to look at ways to cut some costs. There’s no doubt about it. We’ve been in conversation with NASCAR about what it is they can do, more importantly we as teams ultimately have the responsibility to pay attention to what we’re spending.
    “A testing ban, there’s a lot of unknowns. I’ve never been part of a sport where testing was banned. So I’m not sure of the consequences of that.

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