Rules package now in teams' hands

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR provided teams with the long-awaited rules package for the new car that will debut in the 2013 Daytona 500 in February.

The first test with the package, which was distributed Tuesday, will be held Dec. 11-12 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. About 14 drivers so far are on the list to test, but teams will be allowed for this session only to bring in multiple drivers and additional cars to participate.

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, said there are a few minor things the governing body continues to work on to improve the handling of the cars around each other, but added this basically is the package teams will have for non-restrictor-plate tracks like Daytona.

"We've told them what splitters and spoilers they'll use," said Pemberton, noting that the splitters will have a different shape to improve aerodynamics. "They know what they need for suspensions and stuff like that."

Getting the final rules package has been a concern for several team owners. Richard Childress said last week in Las Vegas during the introduction of the 2013 Chevrolet SS that "we're just hoping we don't have to turn [the cars we've built] into showroom cars."

Pemberton said this will be the first time everyone has tested with the new rules package. He said there may have been one car that had the entire package on it during the last test in November.

He said the package was the culmination of more than a year of research and testing to find what will improve cars being able to pass and race better around each other.

"It definitely had the best feedback," Pemberton said.

The front grandstand at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be open and free to the general public. Among the drivers scheduled to participate will be Dale Earnhardt Jr., who last week was named NASCAR's most popular driver for the 10th consecutive year.

NASCAR has two other tests on the schedule -- at Daytona and Charlotte in January -- before the 500. Meanwhile, Goodyear has scheduled a February test at Darlington and April tests at Daytona and Indianapolis.