LONG POND, Pa.– If anything fosters cooperation between race teams in a single organization, it’s the testing policy NASCAR instituted this season.
With four tests available at tracks that host NASCAR events, drivers and crew chiefs must agree on which four tracks are optimum for testing, and that involves no small degree of give and take.
With two drivers solidly in the Chase field–Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.–and two on the bubble–Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon–Hendrick Motorsports has opted to use one of its tests at a track the Sprint Cup will visit before the Chase (Richmond) and three that are Chase tracks (New Hampshire, Texas and Homestead).
According to Gordon, the choice of tracks was a collaborative decision
“We discuss it in our Tuesday meetings, and I think all the crew chiefs get together in Monday meetings, and they come up with the race tracks they would like to go to,” Gordon said. “They talk to their drivers and get that kind of information, and then on Tuesday, we come up with the best scenario that works for all of us.
“For me, I think we have a good game plan that works for all of us. Again, I said earlier that it’s a compromise with the organization. When you have four teams, not everybody is going to be perfectly suited. But in this case, I think it suits our needs to get ourselves in the Chase, and if we get in the Chase, then it suits our teammates to be very competitive in the Chase.”