WATKINS GLEN, NY -- For the first time ever, a practice session for a Winston Cup points race was held using Goodyear Wet Condition tires at Watkins Glen International today. Drivers faced a steady morning drizzle before the rain trailed ...
WATKINS GLEN, NY -- For the first time ever, a practice session for a Winston Cup points race was held using Goodyear Wet Condition tires at Watkins Glen International today.
Drivers faced a steady morning drizzle before the rain trailed off, leaving the track visibly wet throughout the 70-minute session. Twenty-eight drivers tested their cars on the 2.45 mile paved road course. Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet) would have been the 29th car on the track, but he lost a windshield wiper as he drove from the garage to the track.
"It wasn't nearly as much fun as I thought it would be," said Terry Labonte (#5 Kelloggs Corn Flakes Chevrolet). "It was a little slicker than I thought. The last time I ran with these kind of tires was about ten years ago for the 24 Hours of Daytona and for a sports car race at the Meadowlands. I remember it being a lot more fun than this. I think it would be pretty difficult for us to run a race with these cars in these conditions. There was way too much spray out there."
"It's o.k.," said Jeff Burton (#99 Exide Batteries Ford) "It's totally different than anything we've ever done. I just stayed out and ran a bunch of laps to get used to it. It's fun, but I don't know that I want to race like that. If you did race like that, it would be interesting, that's for sure."
Ron Fellows (#87 Bully Hill Vineyards Chevrolet), who won the Bully Hill Vineyards 150 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and finished second in the Lysol 200 NASCAR Busch Series race here in June, approached the session with caution. "It's slippery, but it's starting to dry and that's probably the worst possible situation. We did a couple of laps to see what we had and we have a pretty aggressive dry set-up. The tires are fine. Goodyear has a lot of experience building rain tires. When the track starts to dry, these cars will tear up the rain tires. It's a real lottery as the track starts to dry and the conditions change on a regular basis."
Rich Bickle (#45 10-10-321 Pontiac) completed ten laps, the most of any driver. After the session, the track was allowed to completely dry before practice began again in the early afternoon.