Danica Patrick could take Newman’s crew in 2013

continued from page 1

“We feel like it’s time to open that up and allow the teams to manage their testing and get back on facilities that host our events,” NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said Saturday. “You’ll see that as the year unfolds that teams will be moving around the countryside.”

NASCAR will hold a test session for the 2013 car next week at Talladega. Pemberton said test will focus on the cooling and drafting packages.

There are also tests scheduled for Texas, Kansas, Charlotte, and Phoenix.

“We are developing this car and tires at the same time,” Pemberton said. “It’s something we haven’t been able to do in the past. But because Goodyear has put the resources toward tires … we’re better positioned now to develop the car and the tire at the same time.”

Team owner Jack Roush liked the move.

“As long as it’s the same for everybody,” he said.

The new testing policy is only for the Sprint Cup series.

_____

DENNY AND DOUG: Denny Hamlin has more in common with Michael Jordan than a love of golf and VIP treatment at Charlotte Bobcats game.

Turns out, they’re both tight with Jordan’s former Chicago Bulls coach, Doug Collins.

Collins, starting his third season coaching the Philadelphia 76ers, has forged a bond with Hamlin over the past 18 months after the NASCAR star visited the Sixers before their 2011 playoff run.

Hamlin was invited by Collins to address the team and played a game of HORSE with guards Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner.

“I’ve just enjoyed watching his career and how he’s doing,” Collins said.

Collins was impressed with Hamlin’s impromptu talk to the team about having fun and enjoying the playoff chase _ something he admitted to the Sixers he failed to do when he was runner-up for the 2010 Cup championship. Hamlin also shared a story about he stuck by his pit crew after a poor season, then was rewarded the next season with his crew was recognized as one of the best in the sport. That message of sticking together as a team through the tough times resonated with Collins because the Sixers had turned a 3-13 start into a playoff berth.

“He said he’s my biggest fan,” said Hamlin, smiling. “I think my mom is, but he texts us every week now during the Chase and congratulates us on how we’ve been doing.”

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