HAMPTON, Ga. (Sept. 1, 1998) Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte were on hand at Atlanta Motor Speedway Tuesday for the first of a two-day Goodyear tire test session in preparation for the season-ending NAPA 500 on Sunday, Nov. 8. ...
HAMPTON, Ga. (Sept. 1, 1998) Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte were on hand at Atlanta Motor Speedway Tuesday for the first of a two-day Goodyear tire test session in preparation for the season-ending NAPA 500 on Sunday, Nov. 8.
Labonte's lap of 184.615 mph in the Interstate Batteries Pontiac, nearly eight mph slower than the Bud Pole Award speed for the PRIMESTAR 500 in March, was the fastest posted Tuesday. The test was scheduled to end Wednesday, with the drivers scheduled to head to Darlington Raceway for this weekend's Pepsi Southern 500.
"The new configuration is not as tough on tires as the old oval was," Labonte said. "We can make it further on a tire run now than we could on the oval, but we're still not ready to make a full fuel run with the tires that we have. That's the object of this test, to try to have the tires make it that far."
NASCAR Winston Cup Series point leader Gordon's speed of 184.247 mph in the DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet was second fastest Tuesday.
"The tires are good," Gordon said. "Goodyear has done an excellent job of working hard to improve the tires that we run here."
Martin was third-fastest, posting a speed of 183.637 mph in the Valvoline Ford.
"It's hot here, real hot," Martin said. "That makes the test a little tougher because it will be cooler in the fall. Our main objective is to find a car that is safe and comfortable. I feel confident that Goodyear will give us the tires to make it a full fuel run.
Since the first race at Atlanta in 1960, the track has historically been one of the toughest on the circuit on tires. Phil Holmer, field manager for Goodyear's Racing Division, says that is one of the main reasons that Goodyear chose to ask the top team in points from each car manufacturer to participate in the session.
"This is the most important test for Goodyear during the past several years," he said.
Source: NASCAR Online