Ryan Newman critical of Las Vegas test
March 07, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
LAS VEGAS -- Thursday’s four-hour test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the first official test this year on a 1.5-mile track for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams.
According to at least one driver, it was not time or money well spent.
"I think it was a waste of time," Ryan Newman, driver of the Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet, said Friday morning at LVMS. "A waste of time and a waste of money.
"We all use it to our advantage, but it’s not worth the whole (extra) night’s worth of rooms for the entire organization, an extra engine per car.
"It’s just financially, for four hours (of track time), it’s not worth it."
NASCAR officials determined the new rules package for intermediate tracks after multiple test sessions late last year. Among the changes were statically setting the ride height of the cars, side skirt and rear fascia changes and increasing the spoiler height to eight inches.
Sunday’s Kobalt 400 will be the first race of the season on a 1.5-mile track with the new package in place.
Newman, who made the switch from Stewart-Haas Racing to RCR during the offseason, was fourth fastest during Thursday’s test. He is currently 15th in points after finishing 22nd at Daytona and seventh last week at Phoenix.
Teams were not required to take part in Thursday’s test, although all 48 on the entry list for this week’s race did participate.
Defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, 18th on the final rundown Thursday, had a different outlook on the test, calling it "very helpful and useful."
"I’m glad that NASCAR allowed us to come out for a few hours," he said.
Will the session play a role in Sunday’s outcome? Newman doesn’t think so.
"That’s the ultimate (measurement)," he said. "I don’t think it’s going to change the racing. It’s going to help the race track by putting rubber on the race track, which is good. But we’re going to do that the next two days anyway.
"If you added it up what it cost per team to come here and do what we did yesterday for four hours … it’s just not worth it. You’re still going to have a winner on Sunday and how he gets there probably had nothing to do with Thursday."
Under NASCAR’s current testing policy, organizations are allowed to test on their own up to four times at tracks that host national series events (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series).
Teams are allowed to test as often as they wish at tracks that do not host national series events.