NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and drivers will get their first chance to try the new-for-2012 restrictor plate package in a full field of cars at Daytona this week.
Preseason testing ahead of the season-opening Daytona 500 gets under way at the 2.5-mile oval on Wednesday. While some teams had a chance to try the new package when NASCAR was evaluating the changes at the end of last year, this week marks the first opportunity to properly try out the tweaks to the cars.
NASCAR's vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said: "This is an opportunity we are providing to the competitors to implement and test the new Daytona rules package for 2012. It's a chance for them to get comfortable with the cooling package, the smaller spoiler and to practice drafting for next month's Daytona 500."
Changes to the restrictor plate package are aimed at preventing cars from being able to form drafting pairs, a trend which started in 2011 due to the smoothness of the repaved Daytona surface.
Tweaks have been made to make sure the cars are more difficult to drive and will overheat quickly if cars draft together for too long. Pemberton believes that this week's first test will enable both drivers and engine manufacturers to come to grips with the new parameters.
"While we have had other tests with these setups, this is the first opportunity for the entire field to test together and get more comfortable with this package," he added. "It will also allow the engine tuners for these teams to be able to work with their engine packages and see how they relate to the new cooling regulations."