Cup teams looking for Playoff edge with Martinsville test

Matthew T. Thacker/NKP/Motorsport Images

Cup teams looking for Playoff edge with Martinsville test


Cup teams looking for Playoff edge with Martinsville test


NASCAR Cup Series teams have two days to gather data at Martinsville Speedway through an organizational test this week.

But don’t expect to see any significant changes emerge ahead of the October playoff race at the track. Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Tuesday morning the test is more for the team’s benefit.

“We kind of did this in collaboration with the industry,” Miller said of the two-day test. “[The teams] wanted a few tests almost like an old school test day where they could go, put data on the car, do all of their testing. And the teams were the ones that were instrumental in choosing the tracks.

“We have one, obviously, at Martinsville, and there’s one, not sure the date on it, but at Homestead.

“They chose this time of the year, I believe, to try to get some learnings under their belt with the Next Gen car and then have these organizational tests to sort of fine tune and refine their yearly thought process going into the playoffs. So, they saved the organizational test for a little later in the year.”

After the spring race at Martinsville received less than stellar reviews, there was some consideration at looking at potential changes to the Next Gen car. Drivers having to ability to shift at the short track was one topic of conversation, and NASCAR officials admitted that would be something they’d look at in the future.

William Byron won the April race that saw five lead changes, chilly weather, and seemingly little action. Afterwards, drivers spoke of the inability to pass and the lack of tire wear.

Goodyear held a tire test at Martinsville in June. Kyle Busch (Toyota), Tyler Reddick (Chevrolet), and Austin Cindric (Ford) participated.

Even though it was a tire test, NASCAR and the teams did work on different aerodynamic components. However, officials, teams, and the three OEMs decided not to make major changes ahead of the fall race.

Martinsville’s second race has much higher stakes as it sets the Championship 4.

The track will be open for teams to test from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and multiple drivers from an organization can test. One and two-car outfits can test one car, while three and four-car organizations are allowed to put two cars on track.

Among those in attendance are Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, and Trackhouse Racing.

“We’re going back to Martinsville with a different tire than we raced the first time, but other than that, as far as car specifications, there isn’t anything new,” said Miller.