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Roar returns: NASCAR Sprint Cup cars hit track for first time in 2016

Four NASCAR Sprint Cup champions will be on the track today for the first time this year, taking part in a Goodyear tire test that goes through Wednesday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Testing will be Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth. They’ve combined for nearly half the wins in the previous 18 Cup races at the track. Johnson has a record four wins there. Kenseth has three wins there and Keselowski has one victory.

It marks the first time teams will run with the new low downforce package in 2016. The “base package” will feature a 3.5-inch spoiler, a 0.25-inch front leading splitter edge and a 33-inch radiator pan in width. There could be track-specific rule changes involving different tire combinations and drive train configurations. The rear-gear ratios will have a maximum 9,000 RPMs.

Another change for 2016 is that the digital dashboard will be mandatory.

Typically, an offseason test would not feature as many former champions, but it shows the importance these teams and drivers are putting on this tire test, especially with the limits to on-track testing by NASCAR.

NASCAR is at Las Vegas March 4-6 with the Xfinity Series racing March 5 and the Sprint Cup race March 6.

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