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Texas Motor Speedway test date?

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          NASCAR NEWS - Thursday, March 6, 2008

NASCAR says no to Texas Motor Speedway test date
By David Caraviello, NASCAR.COM

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage wants a 
test session held at his facility before the Sprint 
Cup teams race there April 6. But NASCAR says he's not 
going to get one. 

Concerned by a track-record 11 cautions Sunday at Las 
Vegas Motor Speedway and comments from some drivers who 
say Texas will be a bigger test for the new racecar, 
Gossage sent a release to the media inviting NASCAR to 
test at the Fort Worth facility prior to the Samsung 
500. Although Clint Bowyer and Juan Montoya took part 
in a Goodyear tire test in January at Texas, it was 
not one of the six tracks chosen for an official open 
test like the one held in Phoenix on Monday and Tuesday. 

Gossage proposed adding a test session, opening the track 
the Wednesday of race week for an additional practice 
session, or adding a Sprint Cup practice to the speedway's 
regular schedule of events on Thursday. 

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"My concern is that they did have an open test at Las 
Vegas and still had a record number of cautions, including 
three serious crashes involving former Cup champions," 
said Gossage, referring to wrecks involving Jeff Gordon, 
Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch. "We only have had a two-car 
Goodyear test so we could see a lot of crashes, and that 
causes me concern. I'm sure the teams would like as much 
data and track time as possible to reach that comfort 
level with the car and its performance at our speedway." 

NASCAR says it will keep an eye on the car's performance 
at Texas before determining whether any additional track 
time is necessary. As for an additional test, the sanction-
ing body's answer is clear-cut. 

"The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is testing in Phoenix 
[Tuesday] and will test at Pocono and Charlotte later 
this year," series spokesman Ramsey Poston said Tuesday. 
"There are no plans to add tests at this time." 

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Sprint Cup teams also tested at Daytona, California, and 
Las Vegas in addition to the session this week in Phoenix
and those upcoming at Pocono and Charlotte. Texas officials 
lobbied NASCAR for an open test, but did not receive one. 
Gossage's concern was heightened after reading comments 
from drivers even before the 11-caution Las Vegas event 
took place. 

"I think Texas will be the toughest track we go to with 
this car, [and] it's already a tough racetrack," Gordon 
said. "And when you look at the transitions, the vertical 
loads, the bumps and the speeds, it's probably going to 
be closer to [Las Vegas] than to any other track we go to. 
The biggest challenge we're going to have with the Impala 
going forward this year is going to tracks that we haven't 
tested at and been to and gotten the data and the laps 
with the telemetry." 

Added Jeff Burton, defending champion of Texas' spring 
race: "I think there are a lot of challenges at Texas -- 
maybe more so than [Las Vegas]. Texas is a little rougher. 
With this car, the bumps seem to be a pretty major issue, 
so I think Texas is going to be quite a challenge with 
this car. Some teams are going to hit and some teams 
aren't. The success we were able to do there last year, 
none of that works. None of that information will be 
worth a hoot, so it's starting all over again." 

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Las Vegas was the first race for the new car on a 1.5-mile 
tri-oval. The information teams compiled in the January 
test at Las Vegas was offset somewhat by the stark 
difference in weather conditions on race day. NASCAR also 
builds its test schedule partly on input from teams, who 
are consulted at midseason about which venues they would 
most prefer to test at the next year. 

But Gossage still holds out hope that NASCAR will change 
its mind. The track president also sent an overnight 
letter to NASCAR president Mike Helton outlining his 
concerns about racing at Texas without a test. 

"I'm disappointed that NASCAR did not give it more 
consideration," Gossage said, "but Texas Motor Speedway's 
offer still stands if they reconsider." 

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