New package locked in despite curtailed practice

Sparta, KY - JULY 9: Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang Ford, and Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, wait to get on the track during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series July Kentucky Race at Kentucky Speedway on July 9, 2015 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

Sparta, KY – JULY 9: Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang Ford, and Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, wait to get on the track during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series July Kentucky Race at Kentucky Speedway on July 9, 2015 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

SPARTA, Ky. – Because of rainy weather at Kentucky Speedway, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers lost four hours of testing on Wednesday and another two hours of practice on Thursday.

Practice or not, NASCAR is committed to running its new lower-downforce aero package at Kentucky, and drivers are hoping Friday brings a rain-free window for practice.

Through wind tunnel testing and computer simulations, Sprint Cup teams have a good baseline for the way the new low-downforce package will behave, but Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle thinks it’s important for the series to see some track time before Saturday night’s Quaker State 400.

“I think we could probably race this package without testing it,” Biffle said on Thursday at Kentucky Speedway. “I doubt whether that will happen. I think that we’ll at least end up getting some practice. I think we’ll need some practice on the race track to race this package because we have gotten as close as we can with the setup and the springs and the shocks and the wedge and the front sway bar as we could possibly get,

“But I think we’re going to need at least an hour practice session to get it, ‘OK, it’s not spinning out and I’ve got it fairly decent.’  Now, do we need four hours of testing and then an hour-and-a-half of practice and qualifying and all that?  No, we don’t need all that, but we do need some track time.”

Two Sprint Cup practices are scheduled for Friday before qualifying at 5:45 p.m. ET.

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