Four drivers to kick off testing season in Las Vegas – Nascar
RELATED: Full 2017 schedule
The start of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is more than one month away but four competitors will be back behind the wheel much sooner.
Jamie McMurray (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates No. 1 Chevrolet), Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet), Joey Logano (Team Penske No. 22 Ford) and Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota) are scheduled to take part in the season’s first Goodyear tire test Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 10-11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The test will mark the first time that the new Toyota Camry, which was unveiled on Monday at the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit, will be on track. Kenseth will be the first Toyota driver to take to the track in the new race car.
RELATED: New-look Toyota Camry unveiled
Las Vegas, a 1.5-mile tri-oval, will host the season’s third points race, the Kobalt 400, Sunday, March 12 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske, is the defending race winner.
The 2017 racing season officially gets underway Feb. 18 with the running of The Clash (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), a non-points event at Daytona International Speedway. The first points event, the Daytona 500, is scheduled for Feb. 26 (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The two-day Las Vegas tire test is the first of seven on the 2017 schedule. Other Goodyear tire tests for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams are on tap for Michigan International Speedway (April 4-5), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (April 25-26), Kentucky Speedway (May 9-10), Chicagoland Speedway (June 6-7) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (Aug. 8-9).
All are for 2017 races with the exception of AMS, which will be focused on 2018. Track officials there recently announced that the 1.54-mile track will be repaved following this year’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (March 5, 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Also, with news of a repaving and reconfiguration at Texas Motor Speedway, Goodyear could add a test there as well.
RELATED: Texas set for major track project
The season’s first organizational test, open to all but limited to one team per organization, will take place at Phoenix International Raceway Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Additional organizational tests for the series are scheduled for May 30-31 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Aug. 15-16 at Chicagoland Speedway, Oct. 10-11 at Martinsville Speedway and Oct. 24-25 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
One change of note in the 2017 testing schedule is the addition of separate tests for the manufacturers’ wheel force transducer (WFT) cars. The vehicles, provided by teams and fitted with various data-gathering devices, were previously allowed for each organizational and Goodyear tire test.
NASCAR will also hold a two-day test April 11-12 at Daytona, using the first day to sort through potential safety/competition initiatives while Goodyear is expected to conduct a tire test with any potential changes on the second day.
The 2017 season will be the third in which team testing is limited to participation in Goodyear tire tests, organizational tests or any developmental-type tests set by the sanctioning body.
Private team testing has been prohibited since the start of the 2015 season.