NASCAR optimistic about its new Sprint Cup car

NASCAR has high hopes that its new Gen-6 car will increase the competition in the Sprint Cup Series for the 2013 season.

During a news conference on Tuesday, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said he was quite confident the Gen-6 car will improve competition and provide more exciting racing for the fans. The car will make its debut in the Feb. 16 Sprint Unlimited (pre-season, non-points race) at Daytona International Speedway. The season-opening Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 24.

France also noted how NASCAR will measure the success of the car throughout the season.

"I think we'll measure it by lead changes, we'll measure it by how it races, we'll measure it by how the drivers feel about it, and knowing that not everybody will always love every rules package or thing that we do, that's for sure, but we'll look at it very simply," he said.

France explained the concept of the car was started a few years ago and has gone through an unprecedented amount of collaboration among NASCAR, the teams, the auto manufacturers and the racetracks.

Each of the three auto manufacturers in NASCAR's top series -- Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota -- have designs on its current cars that are considerably different from the previous ones (the Car of Tomorrow) used in the sport from 2007-12.

Sprint Cup teams have tested the car at Daytona and Charlotte Motor Speedway this month. Drivers such as reigning series champion Brad Keselowski and three-time titleholder Tony Stewart have praised it.

"We've been highly encouraged by the results that we've seen at the tests at Daytona and Charlotte earlier this month, and are optimistic that not only will the cars look great, we believe they will race great," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said during the news conference. "The teams have been doing a great job getting their cars ready. The drivers have provided excellent feedback.

"I really believe we're going to see some of the most competitive, intense and exciting racing that we've seen in quite some time. We're excited about the direction we're headed with our competition."

NASCAR also laid out its plans for a new track-drying system this season. The system will significantly reduce the amount of time required to dry a racetrack, depending on its length.

"We'll be debuting our first cycle, our first generation of this track-drying system, which is pretty interesting, and we also are going to do it in a much more green, carbon-emission friendly way," France said. "So what that means is obviously when you're at the track, we're going to be able to dry Martinsville (0.526-mile oval) off in 15 minutes. It's going to be a spectacular thing, and all auto racing will benefit from this as we go down the road."