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NASCAR takes six Cup cars to wind tunnel after Michigan

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NASCAR has taken six Cup cars – two from each manufacturer – for wind tunnel and engine testing following Sunday’s race at Michigan won by Kevin Harvick.

The cars taken include the Fords of Harvick and Brad Keselowski (finished second); the Chevrolets of Austin Dillon (fourth) and Chase Elliott (ninth); and the Toyotas of Kyle Busch (third) and Denny Hamlin (eighth).

The location of the wind tunnel was not available from NASCAR.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, discussed the wind tunnel tests Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive.”

“We try and find a track where obviously aero is going to play a bigger role,” O’Donnell said. “I think (the test) it’s actually Tuesday. We’ll have those results kind of going into Wednesday and our process is to share that with (manufacturers) and the race teams. It’s a good barometer for us for two things. To make sure we’re still within that box that we set for the current year and probably most importantly is we look to lock in 2019 (that) the baseline we’re using matches up with all the data that we believe we have in the system. It’s a good check on both for not only ’18 but future race packages as well.”

Six cars were taken for similar testing following the April race at Texas Motor Speedway. 

The cars of Harvick, Joey Logano, Elliott, Jamie McMurray, Busch and Erik Jones were taken.

Six cars head to wind tunnel after Texas

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FORT WORTH, Texas – NASCAR took six cars to a wind tunnel for testing after Sunday’s O’Reilly 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

These were the cars: The Fords of Kevin Harvick (second) and Joey Logano (sixth); the Chevrolets of Chase Elliott (11th) and Jamie McMurray (third); and the Toyotas of Kyle Busch (first) and Erik Jones (fourth).

NASCAR didn’t divulge the location of the wind tunnel.

In a statement, NASCAR said, ”As we’ve done in the past, NASCAR will capture cars from each manufacturer for the purposes of a wind tunnel test. We feel this is an appropriate time in the season to do so.”

NASCAR on rumors it would take additional cars after Michigan: Gotcha!

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All that talk that NASCAR would take more cars after Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan to see how they compared?

A ruse.

So said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, Monday on “The Morning Drive.’’

“We actually found it kind of comical this weekend,’’ O’Donnell said of the chatter that NASCAR would take more cars after Michigan. “We put a little bit of the rumor out there, and candidly it worked.

“If anyone would have done some serious research, the wind tunnel that we would use for this is under construction this week so it would have been impossible.’’

Brad Keselowski said Friday that Toyotas were sandbagging at Michigan because of the expectation that NASCAR would take more cars after the race. Toyotas led 88.2 percent of the laps in the five races leading up to Michigan.

“We had a strong suspicion that those guys (Toyota) would kind of tune it down this weekend, so not to post a pretty big number in inspection that maybe balanced back out the competition,” Keselowski said after winning the pole. “And potentially that’s right because our team hasn’t done much differently and those guys are just not as fast as they’ve been the last few weeks.”

Kyle Busch responded to Keselowski’s comments by telling ESPN on Saturday: “Brad’s a (expletive) moron. We don’t just turn it down. We actually have a new engine package here this week. He’s a moron.’’

Keselowski told NBCSN before Sunday’s race that Toyota’s performance last weekend at Michigan seemed “fishy.’’

“NASCAR typically takes the cars from the field, the best cars from the field and checks to see where everybody is at performance-wise about three or four times a year,’’ Keselowski told NBCSN. “Usually those weekends are either Indianapolis, Pocono or Michigan. Well they couldn’t do it at Indianapolis because most of the field wrecked and there weren’t any cars to check, and I don’t know why it wasn’t done at Pocono.

“So the whole field knows today that the cars are probably going to be pulled and go through a little bit of extra inspection. That doesn’t mean that anyone is cheating by any means. This is a chance for NASCAR to level the playing field and see who is where in the development cycles. I think everybody knows that.’’

NASCAR did not take any additional cars.

“We’re not going to telegraph when we’re going to do that at a certain race track,’’ O’Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We always want to make sure that we’ve got the best information possible, particularly the aerodynamics of the car, so we’ll continue to do that.

“A lot of politicking going out there and I think that will continue as it gets closer to the playoffs. There’s a lot on the line, a lot of different winners, and that’s actually kind of cool to see because people care and they want to do all they can to win.’’

Keselowski led a race-high 105 laps before finishing 17th. Kyle Larson passed Martin Truex Jr. on the restart in overtime to win. Truex led Toyota by finishing second.

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