NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers participated in a test session at Phoenix International Raceway on October 14, 2015.

NASCAR held an open testing session at Phoenix International Raceway Wednesday, and nearly 1,000 race fans were in attendance to watch some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ best on the track.

Drivers who participated in the testing session included Chase for the Sprint Cup Contenders Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitors Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. also took part in the session.

Gordon met with the media during a break in the session and remarked about the PIR fans that came out to watch the open testing.

“I must say I was shocked to see how many people came out here for testing,” he said. “We haven’t seen that in a long time. I think as a driver, one of the things you look forward to least is testing, although you realize how important and necessary it is. I’m certainly willing to celebrate that this will be my last day testing and I’m glad that the fans came out and enjoyed it as well. The fact that they came out here in this ridiculously hot weather shows their dedication and commitment and avidness and that made me feel good. ”

With the new testing format, drivers like Kenseth understand the importance of time on the track.

“I don’t know that your exact setup that worked out today will work when you come back in November, but you still learn a lot,” Kenseth said. “We don’t get much track time anymore so this gives us a few days out here to gather some data and see what the track is like and try to work through some things.”

The testing session is the last chance for teams to gather data on track before the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 on Nov. 15. The Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 is the final race in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. After the race, the field of championship contenders will be trimmed from eight hopefuls to the final four drivers that will race for the championship the next week.

“This is an important track,” said Keselowski. “That’s why we’re here. You look at this race last year, of the eight drivers that had a chance of winning a championship, all eight had to run well here to have a shot of going to the next round. So no one was locked in coming here. I would expect that that could happen again. So you’re going to need to have a great race here at Phoenix to have a shot to go to Homestead and bid for the championship. That’s what were here trying to do – step up our game and we’ll see how it all plays out about a month from now.”

Fans were asked by PIR to make a $5 donation to Phoenix Raceway Charities for admission to the testing session. Phoenix Raceway Charities is a Donor Advised Fund under The NASCAR Foundation, and its mission is to accelerate the development of children in Arizona by supporting education, children and families of our military and military veterans, and life enrichment programs for children and families in our community.

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