Four NASCAR drivers -- Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Brian Vickers -- sped around Texas Motor Speedway with a new aluminum spoiler package instead of a rear wing on the car during a tire test Tuesday. A full field of drivers could be sporting the spoilers at TMS for April's Samsung Mobile 500.
The spoiler, which was on the old cars, is designed to add balance to the cars with the hopes that it can increase side-by-side racing and passing up front, something that some fans and teams have complained about since the car's inception.
The test was significant because the spoiler marks the first major change NASCAR has considered making to the new car, which debuted in 2007 and has been running full time in the Sprint Cup circuit the last two seasons. NASCAR is expected to announce the change this week, and the Cup cars could be racing with the spoiler as early as March.
More drivers are expected to test with it at Charlotte Motor Speedway on March 23-24. It could be on the circuit permanently later that same month. The timing would make TMS the first high-banked, intermediate track to host a race with the spoilers on the cars. The new car has not produced the same kind of passing near the front of the field at TMS as races in the past.
Stewart and Vickers tested the spoiler during a morning session delayed two hours while the track was dried from heavy morning dew. Biffle and Busch, who tested the spoiler late in his run, got their chance in the afternoon.
"I liked the way the car drove," Biffle said. "It drove a little bit different on corner exit than the wing did. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but it may have had a little feel like the old car in some scenarios. You can tell it has some more drag because they made it a little bit bigger and wider.
"I'm anxious to get side-by-side with some guys and around other cars and see how it drives."
NASCAR is still determining the exact size of the spoiler, but the one used in Tuesday's test was 64.5 inches wide and four inches high with no contour in the design.
Richard Durrett is a reporter for ESPNDallas.com.