NASCAR teams testing at Kennedy Space Center image

NASCAR teams have reportedly found an unusual place to test their cars ahead of the 2013 season.

According to a report from Fox Sports, research and development teams from Richard Childress Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing have started to use the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility located south of Daytona, Florida, for testing. Part of the Kennedy Space Center, the 15,000-foot concrete runway on Merritt Island in Brevard County, has proven ideal for straight-line testing. Teams perform these tests to gather aerodynamic data.

Using the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility also makes more economic sense than transporting cars from North Carolina to the proving grounds in Arizona. “We use the landing strip at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral just because it’s a long, smooth straightaway, and it’s warm, so in the wintertime you can test there with pretty controlled conditions,” Richard Childress Racing director of competition Dr. Eric Warren told Fox Sports.

“You work out a relationship with those guys and pay for the use of the facilities — like any other testing facility. They have their own on-site emergency crews, so the safety side of it is really nice. It’s closer. The weather is warmer, and it’s a great wintertime alternative to going to places out West,” Warren added.