Drivers have a new weapon

HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 27: Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GODaddy Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series  Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

HAMPTON, GA – FEBRUARY 27: Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GODaddy Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

HAMPTON, Ga.—A new provision in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rule book this year allows drivers to adjust the track bar from the cockpit of the car.

Raising or lowering the track bar (a rear suspension part) affects the handling of the car and raising or lowering the bar is one way crew chiefs try to correct loose or tight conditions. Though the method of adjusting the bar varies from team to team, most drivers already have experimented with the new tool at their disposal.

Danica Patrick didn’t adjust the track bar during short runs in Thursday’s test session at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but she did use it extensively when drivers tried the new feature after last year’s August race at Michigan. And she expects Sprint Cup drivers to embrace the idea.

“When you give the driver a feature, they’re going to use it,” Patrick said. “With Atlanta, we weren’t making extremely long runs (Thursday). To test things, you really need to give it the couple laps that you need to give it. To be getting after the track bar and things like that, it would have, I think, confused me more on what the adjustments did.

“At the point where we’re going to try to make a long run before we went into trying a qualifying run, I was going to use it on a long run, but I only probably did six or seven laps and the car wasn’t quite good enough to stay out there. I thought we needed another adjustment so I decided to come in.

“I’m comfortable using it and I feel like everyone will use it quite a bit at different points, like pitting and restarts. There’s a lot to think about there. I’m interested to see how it will work to be honest… It will be interesting to see how it pans out. It’ll make the drivers happy. Trust me, when you’re really loose or really tight, you really want to fix it. I’m sure it’ll make us more comfortable.”

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