Tires "Hard" to Figure as NEXTEL Cup Testing Concludes, Kurt Busch Fastest among 84 Cars on Tuesday CONCORD, N.C. (May 8, 2007) - Tires, and the hard rubber compound Goodyear has selected for the May 19 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the...
Tires "Hard" to Figure as NEXTEL Cup Testing Concludes, Kurt Busch Fastest among 84 Cars on Tuesday
CONCORD, N.C. (May 8, 2007) - Tires, and the hard rubber compound Goodyear has selected for the May 19 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 27 Coca-Cola 600, were the talk of the garage area Tuesday as 51 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams wrapped up testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"The tires don't wear at all, so you could probably run the same set all night," said Kasey Kahne, who won last year's Coca-Cola 600 on the same tires. "But they would get bad after a while because they'd be too hot. If you let them cool down and put them back on later in the race, they'd probably be pretty good.
"The track's good, it seems very similar to how it was last year," Kahne added. "It's just a matter of getting the car underneath you, and it still turning. Right now we've been able to get the front end to turn, but then we're way too loose in the back. We're just trying to find that fine line."
After slamming the wall Monday evening, Denny Hamlin continued to struggle in the No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet.
"We can't get our car working together with the tire and the track," Hamlin said. "The tire is so hard. It's frustrating for us to have to race with this tire. We're trying to do everything we can to make it work."
"It's difficult to find a bunch of grip, but the tires are the same for everyone, so it'll be alright," said Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 5 CARQUEST Auto Parts/Kellogg's Chevrolet, was the most blunt in his summation of the situation.
"The tires suck," he said. "We're not that fast, so we've got work to do."
Tuesday teams worked to find the proper chassis set-up that matches the tires with the track surface. Roger Penske's Miller Lite team came closest to finding the magic combination as Kurt Busch topped the speed chart at 185.644 mph.
However, Kurt Busch's lap was considerably slower than the 187.000 mph speed posted by David Stremme Monday evening, which set the standard for the two days of testing.
Ricky Rudd was second fastest Tuesday evening at 185.644 mph in the Snickers Ford and Jeremy Mayfield was third in the 360 OTC Toyota.
"We're trying to get our Toyota up to speed and I believe we've found some stuff here to help us," said Mayfield. "It feels good to be half way back on top even though it's not a race run. My cars are driving better and the entire team is working hard to be where we need to be."
A.J. Allmendinger also carried the Toyota banner into the top five with a lap at 185.408 mph in the No. 84 Red Bull Entry.
"The biggest thing was for me to get used to the race track," said Allmendinger. "It's a difficult race track, but I'm comfortable on it."
Kurt Busch's teammate, Ryan Newman, rounded out the top five Tuesday evening at 185.401 mph in the No. 12 Alltel Dodge.
The only incident during the seven-hour session came when David Gilliland spun the No. 38 M&M's Ford, but did not hit the wall.
Testing for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is up next as teams prepare for the Quaker Steak & Lube 200 on Friday night, May 18. Testing is scheduled for Thursday, May 10, and Friday, May 11, with the trucks scheduled to be on the track from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each day.
Lowe's Motor Speedway's frontstretch grandstand will be open free of charge and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office.
Tickets for all May events at Lowe's Motor Speedway, including the May 19 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 27 Coca-Cola 600, are still available and can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.