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NASCAR to mandate change before COT returns to track

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- NASCAR is mandating a change in the design of the Car of Tomorrow to try to alleviate the heat that caused foam to melt in several cars last weekend at Martinsville.

About 50 Nextel Cup series teams were at Richmond International Raceway on Tuesday to begin two days of testing the Car of Tomorrow on a larger track.

Nextel Cup director John Darby says NASCAR will require teams remove a 23 inch by 8 inch block of foam above where the exhaust pipes extend under the right side of the cars. Teams will then surround the area with a heat shield.

The teams are supposed to make the switch before the next COT race at Phoenix on April 21. The idea is to create cooling air flow in the hottest area on the car and cut down on the melting of the foam that gave Matt Kenseth trouble in the COT's first race at Bristol. It also helped cut short Kevin Harvick's race at Martinsville last weekend.

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