MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 31, 2011) – Less than 24 hours after he crawled out of his race car at Martinsville Speedway following his win in the TUMS Fast Relief 500, Tony Stewart crawled back in it at the historic Virginia track.
But there were no points, no grandfather clocks, no big checks on the line, just lots of laps around the half-mile oval.
Stewart was one of nine drivers on hand Monday for a one-day NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test of the Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) at Martinsville Speedway. Plans call for the full implementation of EFI in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning with the 2012 season, which means in will be in use for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville on April 1.
It was purely coincidental that Stewart was back in action literally hours after his third Martinsville win that put pressure on Sprint Cup point leader Carl Edwards. The test lineup, which included Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, A.J. Almendinger, Ryan Newman, Regan Smith, Jamie McMurray, Joe Nemechek and Mike Skinner, was decided weeks ago.
And though he would probably rather have been elsewhere after his third win of the season, he was OK with staying another day in Martinsville.
“You do this because it’s part of the job. Testing is not one of my favorite things to do by any means, but it’s a necessary evil,” said Stewart, who trails Edwards by just nine points in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. “It’s what you have to do to be better. It just shows you even with the championship chase we are in right now we are already working toward next year.”
NASCAR Sprint Cup Director of Competition said Monday’s EFI test was another step toward successful implementation next year.
“This (today) wasn’t about how much we learned, but one more step in a series of planned EFI tests to help the teams to learn and work through all the configurations of race tracks they will be faced with in 2012 and the EFI system as a whole,” said Darby.
“If you look at everything as a whole, as far as being able to compare what’s going on today to a real, live race situation yesterday, the lap speeds are the same and the cars are driving as well.”