With a yr to go earlier than the Financial institution of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway transitions to the roval format — that is highway course oval — a Goodyear tire take a look at on Tuesday and Wednesday proved that the experiment shall be a matter of trial and error.
However largely error for now.
4 drivers representing all three producers took half within the two-day take a look at designed to offer Goodyear a compound baseline for subsequent yr’s 130-lap, 500-kilometer race. At one level, Kurt Busch drove by way of the front-stretch chicane as he struggled to get a deal with on the two.Four-mile-long, 18-turn circuit.
All instructed, the consensus was that Goodyear went too laborious on its preliminary compound, utilizing a Watkins Glen method on the high-speed infield highway course, whereas the roval part of the observe is at the moment too sluggish.
The drivers in attendance had no scarcity of suggestions or strategies, which was the complete level of the take a look at.
“It has been attention-grabbing,” Truex stated to sum up his expertise after the primary day and a half. “It has been rising on me a bit since we began yesterday. The Watkins Glen tire that we began on was in all probability too laborious for right here. … At the moment has gone rather a lot smoother. It is positively an attention-grabbing observe and have been nonetheless making an attempt to determine it out. It isn’t your regular highway course.”
Truex isn’t positive the place drivers are going to go but as a result of a) the take a look at has consisted of single-car runs and b) the perfect tire has but to be discovered. Additional, Charlotte Motor Speedway has additionally tried a number of variations of the backstretch bus cease chicane supposed to sluggish automobiles down coming into oval flip three.
“There’s a whole lot of thrilling components of the observe,” Truex stated with a hearty giggle. “It’s extremely slender. It’s extremely tough. There’s a whole lot of swells and whoop-de-doos and craziness occurring. It is a bit intimidating. There’s a whole lot of spots that made me nervous yesterday. I am getting used to them now. However we have to have a look at partitions and tire boundaries, stuff like that.”
Busch says there too many turns within the infield and that makes the course too sluggish and never as thrilling because it could possibly be.
“There are a whole lot of sluggish sections in flip 5, flip 6 and switch 7, which these are good rhythmic corners, however they make flip eight actually awkward and that leads you into a decent flip 9, which then leads you into oval flip 1.
“So perhaps there’s an opportunity we will discuss them into reconfiguring to go straight from flip 7, skip eight and go to show 9. That method, we might have one much less sluggish part that will assist the circulate of the observe and assist the exit of infield part onto the oval part. That might create extra velocity really feel and get rid of the sluggish feeling.
“Frankly, a three,500-pound automobile going 35 mph that many occasions is not that thrilling.”
So once more, the place are drivers going to go because it at the moment stands?
“That is an excellent query,” he stated. “I am unable to let you know that. It is laborious to say. I do know there’s a whole lot of locations we will crash. I am undecided in regards to the passing but.”
Like most issues within the modern-day NASCAR, the groups, Goodyear and the speedway will proceed to work collectively to seek out the perfect method earlier than subsequent October. Busch says the observe is difficult, even when it might stand a number of minor tweaks.
“There isn’t a room for taking a break or having a deep breath down a straightaway,” he stated. “Actually, as quickly as you’re in excessive gear off flip Four, you’re right into a chicane. As quickly as your again up by way of the gears in flip Four and get to fourth gear and wide-open, you’re down-shifting and again on the brakes to enter the front-stretch chicane.
“It’s a really busy observe.”