The new paving project at Pocono met with rave reviews after the first of two days of testing at the Pennsylvania racetrack as NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers test ahead of this weekend’s 400-mile race.
Michael Waltrip Racing’s Mark Martin paced the time sheets Wednesday with a best lap of 51.317 seconds (175.380 mph), a time that was more than 5MPH faster than the best practice time from a year ago.
"They did a great job; (the) track was really nice and smooth (with) good grip," said five-time Pocono winner Jeff Gordon. "We have had some repaves where it is a handful and pretty slick. That was not the case at all today."
Penske Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger was second on the speed sheets as the open-wheel refugee continues to chase his first Cup win. Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five. Paul Menard ran a day’s-best 61 laps while Jamie McMUrray was the only other driver to log more than 50 orbits of the Pocono layout.