NASCAR to test potential rules changes for 2015 following next month’s race at Michigan

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We haven’t even reached the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup, but NASCAR officials are already looking ahead to 2015.

The sanctioning body will hold a test following next month’s mid-August Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway to test new rules being considered for implementation in 2015.

The Sprint Cup race at MIS is August 17. The test will be the next day, Monday, August 18, according to a report by Dustin Long of MRN.com.

“We’re very pleased with the competition on the track so far in 2014,” Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR vice president of innovation and racing development, said in a statement to MRN.com. “The evolution of the racing product continues as we look to 2015 and beyond.

“The test at Michigan International Speedway will be a great opportunity to gather more information, help us validate much of the great research done by engineers in our sport, and drive us one step closer to our 2015 race package.”

The number of teams has yet to be determined for the Michigan test. Another test is possible, Long reported, sometime later this year at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

While having tests in the second half of the season is not unusual, the timing is somewhat curious, as this year’s test is two months ahead of similar testing last year when the sanctioning body wanted to assess possible rule changes in 2014.

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IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.