The Washington Times - November 14, 2008, 10:40AM

Earlier this week I wrote that NASCAR was aggressively looking to cut costs for its teams and indicated that officials were considering a ban on all testing at tracks next season.

Well, now it looks like the ban is definitely happening. NASCARis expected to announce later today a new no-testing policy for 2009, including the traditional test sessions in January. Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series teams will be included under the ban. Early indications are that testing at non-NASCAR tracks will still be allowed.

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The lack of testing should save teams money. A single test session for one car, for instance, can run upwards of $100,000, so you’re talking about millions of dollars over the course of the long season.

“It has pluses and minuses,” said Pat Tryson, crew chief for the No. 2 Dodge driven by Kurt Busch, to ESPN.com. “Times are tough right now, so it’s probably not that bad a thing for most people. It’s the same for everybody. It may make the racing better with nobody having the opportunity to test.”

NASCAR has been one of the hardest-hit sports during the economic downturn, with sponors backing out and many teams struggling to finance full teams. DEI and Chip Ganassi Racing announced they would merge this week in order to field a full team, and further consolidation is expected.

“It needs to get leaner and meaner all the time, in terms of what it costs for race teams to field a competitive team,” NASCAR CEO Brian France said on Tuesday. “And that is an ongoing effort of ours. We’re going to be more aggressive on it.”

UPDATE: NASCAR just made the news official with a press release that reads, in part:

“NASCAR reached this decision following several months of discussion with the
teams regarding testing, coupled with the current economic conditions,” the racing body said in a press release. “The suspension of testing should save the industry millions of dollars.”

‘This is a significant move during an unusual time for all of us,’ said NASCAR
President Mike Helton in making the announcement. ‘NASCAR has routinely adjusted
its test policy over the years to reflect current conditions. This is another example of
that.’