Two days of Goodyear tire testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway wrapped up on Wednesday as the tire manufacturer and the speedway begin gearing up for two weeks of racing here at the end of May.
Four Sprint Cup drivers each representing one of the four manufacturers in the Sprint Cup series participated in the event, helping Goodyear shake down tire compounds for the upcoming Sprint All-Star race to be held here on May 16th and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24.
Tire performance has become a major issue in the several of the Sprint Cup races held so far this season. The previous two 600-mile races held at Lowe’s have also been plagued with tire problems.
Goodyear has placed special emphasis on tire testing at several tracks this season, which has proven specially important to teams since NASCAR banned testing for teams at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks beginning this season, making the tire tests the only track time these drivers will see before the races in May.
Representing the Chevrolet teams was three-time Cup champion and three-time Coca Cola 600 winner Jimmie Johnson, one of several drivers who struggled when this new tire compound was introduced earlier this year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I'm very encouraged by this tire and talking with (Goodyear's) engineers, they plan to run this tire a lot more and start working it in,” said Johnson “It (the tire) was new in Las Vegas but hopefully this is a tire we can use at a lot of places to bring some stability back. There's a lot of speed out there right now and with comfort comes speed. That's really what it boils down to.”
Joining Johnson in the testing session were Toyota driver Marcos Ambrose, Ford pilot Paul Menard and Dodge driver Kasey Kahne, the defending winner of both the All-Star race and the Coca Cola 600.
“Goodyear has done a great job over the past six months to a year in developing a tire you can race side-by-side on,” said Kahne. “This car threw some different things at them at first, but I think Las Vegas was a huge improvement and I think that same tire will be good here.” Pete McCole/AutoRacing1.com
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