NASCAR to allow testing in 2013

DOVER, Del. -- NASCAR will allow each Sprint Cup organization to test at four sanctioned tracks of their choosing in 2013.

It will be the first time testing has been allowed at sanctioned tracks since the governing body banned them after the 2008 season in an effort to force teams to cut costs.

The four tests will be in addition to a preseason test at Daytona International Speedway prior to the opener. It has not been decided how many cars each organization can take to each test.

"We feel like it's time to open that up and allow the teams to manage their testing and get back on facilities that host our events," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said on Saturday at Dover International Speedway. "It's up to them to pick where they want to go."

Drivers and team owners have been pushing for testing at sanctioned tracks. They argue they're still spending money to test at non-sanctioned tracks and not getting as much benefit.

"It's awesome," five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said. "That's all we're asking for. We're still testing, but we're all testing at tracks that don't relate. So in a way we're spinning our wheels and kind of wasting funds in areas. I was hopeful for more, but I'm very excited to hear (four).

"We have such old data sets for race tracks that it's crazy. (This) gives teams a chance to go work on their weaker tracks and get new data files."

Johnson is hopeful testing will improve racing, specifically the ability to pass.

"NASCAR is trying so hard to create equality," he said. "As that happens we all run single file and can't pass. The teams will feel good about the fact the money they're spending goes directly towards advancing their cars.

"The end result of what we see on the track it's hard to say, but at least we're spending money in the right area."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. likes the idea of testing, but isn't sure it will improve racing.

"I don't think there is a direct correlation between the two," he said.

Brad Keselowski said testing will be good for NASCAR, particularly for young drivers such as Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who will make his full-time Cup debut in 2013.

"Anytime you get track time it's important, especially at tracks you really race at," he said. "In general, testing is very healthy for the sport. We need to continue to develop and break kind of the rut we're in as a sport as far as new drivers and new people not being able to break in. Maybe even new car owners.

"That will help do it."