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Chase-eligible teams – but not drivers – allowed at Homestead tire test

Jul 29, 2014, 2:31 PM EDT

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With Goodyear setting a tire test for Aug. 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, you’d figure that drivers set for this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup would be all over that opportunity.

After all, Homestead is where the last four drivers standing in the Chase will duke it out in a winner-take all battle for the championship in the Nov. 16 Ford EcoBoost 400.

But while NASCAR will invite Chase-eligible teams to take part in the Aug. 26 test on the 1.5-mile oval in South Florida, the sanctioning body has said that Chase-eligible drivers will be barred from the session.

As the Associated Press notes, that creates a problem for Team Penske, which will have to look beyond its two Cup drivers, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, for the Homestead test since they’ve both already qualified for the post-season.

However, Penske may not have to look very far. This test could be a job for Ryan Blaney, who has competed part-time for them this year in the Nationwide Series (three Top-5s, six Top-10s in seven starts).

He also has some experience in a Cup car, as he made his top-level debut for the team earlier this year at Kansas.

Issues could also arise for Hendrick Motorsports if its fourth driver, Kasey Kahne, finds a way to qualify. Its other three drivers – Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jimmie Johnson – have already locked themselves in. So, if Kahne qualifies, they too will have to look for a sub.

Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing has also qualified, while his two teammates, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., have not. Unless Biffle and Stenhouse each find a way to win over the next four races – and that would appear to be an iffy prospect at best – you’d figure RFR can use one of these two for the Homestead test.

  1. wrlegrand - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    I would not be surprised if Kahne got in before then, even as early as this week at Pocono. He could also easily win at Bristol. They would probably just insert Regan Smith into the test at that point.

    Penske will definitely use Blaney.

    It would be interesting to see who Gibbs would use, although if Kenseth does not win before that point, he will no technically be locked in.

  2. indycarseries500 - Jul 29, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Hendrick would probably use Chase Elliott or Regan Smith, Gibbs would probably use Sam Hornish Jr. or Elliott Sadlet, Roush would probably use Bayne, all these teams have development or Nationwide drivers.

  3. manik56 - Jul 29, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    Boo NASCAR! Go RTA! This is example #2759 why I cannot stand the current power structure in the sport.

  4. adamtw1010 - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    I don’t understand this at all. What a waste of a test. If anything, the test should be only chase drivers. If we need a test for non-chase drivers, that’s what ARCA and Nationwide are for.

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