Atlanta Motor Speedway Pit Notes 5 - Friday, March 6, 2009 GIMME THE GRIP: Tony Stewart was extremely outspoken last March at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his criticism of the tire Goodyear brought to the race. Three tire tests (and one race)...
Atlanta Motor Speedway Pit Notes 5 - Friday, March 6, 2009
GIMME THE GRIP: Tony Stewart was extremely outspoken last March at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his criticism of the tire Goodyear brought to the race. Three tire tests (and one race) later, all reports are that this weekend's tire will wear much better and should provide more grip. But not everyone is convinced.
"They did these tire tests here in (January) when the track temp was 50 degrees; it's 90 out here today," Gordon said. "There's not much grip at all. It's not wearing crazy or anything, but we've only been making one lap at a time. Thank goodness, that's about all I can handle."
Gordon wasn't pointing fingers; in fact, he praised Goodyear for doing its best in what he considers a no-win situation.
"I believe this track, and this car, especially with these temperatures, could possibly be the most difficult track in the world to build a tire for; it's almost beyond what they can do," Gordon said. "We have our hands full; it's gonna be a white-knuckle survival kind of race. I'm actually kind of excited about it."
Gordon said the track's speed and abrasiveness wears so excessively on the tires that it's hard for the manufacturer to balance wear with grip.
Even Stewart was in agreement that this year's tire was a much better -- albeit not perfect -- compound.
"We don't have a ton of grip," Stewart said. "In race trim I think it'll be better, but we don't have quite as much grip as we've had in past."
SMOKE READY FOR LABOR DAY: Race fans have clamored for night racing in Atlanta for years, and Tony Stewart knows exactly why.
"I grew up around short-track racing, and there's just something about racing at night," Stewart said. "It just looks cool, there's just something about it that's more exciting for the fans. And I think the date change will be really good for everybody involved."
That theory is already proving true. AMS President Ed Clark said ticket sales for the new Labor Day event have been swift; demand was so strong that the speedway even pushed up the opening date for general ticket sales.
AFLAC TO SPONSOR JOURNALISM AWARD: Aflac officials announced Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway that the insurance company will take over sponsorship of one of auto racing's most prestigious independent awards, the Motorsports Journalism Award of Excellence. An annual tradition for motorsports journalists since 1985, the awards, administered by Lowe's Motor Speedway, were developed to recognize distinguished coverage of motorsports journalism and to honor Russ Catlin, a pioneer of motorsports media.
The 2008 awards will be announced at the Coca-Cola 600 weekend in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway.