Texas is a pivotal test

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 11:  Greg Biffle drives the #16 3M Ford during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gen-6 Testing at Texas Motor Speedway on April 11, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

FORT WORTH, TX – APRIL 11: Greg Biffle drives the #16 3M Ford during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gen-6 Testing at Texas Motor Speedway on April 11, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Fort Worth, Tex. — Last fall’s test at Texas Motor Speedway came at an important juncture in the development of NASCAR’s new Gen-6 race car.

The Texas test was the last with a low-downforce package on the new car. NASCAR subsequently added downforce to the cars as the package gravitated toward the baseline used to start the 2013 debut season.

“Here at Texas, we were here early in October — early October last fall — and Texas is really one of the pivotal moments in the development of this car and the package that we wound up handing off to the teams to race this year,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “As everybody knows, as we talked throughout last fall and over the wintertime that we’d been through a lot of iterations on the car with high downforce and low downforce and tire tests and things of that nature.

“And with the guys that we had here — Greg Biffle was one, I think Paul Menard was here, Kyle Busch, Juan Montoya and a few others — but they worked really hard at helping us develop the package, and this was… it was a result of the test that those people help us put on here in the fall. It was important for us, and it really set the stage for what we have for 2013.”

SHORT STROKES

Kurt Busch was fastest in the first test session on Thursday, posting a lap at 191.225 mph. Busch ran 192.369 in the second session, but Greg Biffle topped him, running 192.864 mph to lead the field.

Sprint Cup drivers will have two practices Friday, followed by time trials.

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