HAMPTON, Ga. – The second day of Goodyear tire testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway concluded with NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers feeling confident the two-day test will result in an improved tire for the upcoming Kobalt Tools 500 on March 7.
Four NASCAR drivers – NAPA Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Sam Hornish, Jr., and Mark Martin – assisted the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. with tire testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway and their shared sentiment provided high praise for Goodyear’s efforts to provide a quality tire compound for the 2010 Kobalt Tools 500.
“We have a little more grip than we had in the old tire and they hold up just fine,” explained Truex, Jr., who posted a top lap time of 30.127 seconds (184.021 mph). “[There are] no issues at all with wear, which is kind of odd considering for how cold it is and the track being totally green with no rubber worked in – normally you see more wear – so I don’t see any issues coming out of the tires at all. They have a little bit more grip, which everyone will be happy about. It will definitely be a better tire.”
For the second consecutive day, Martin posted the fastest lap time of 29.932 seconds (185.219 mph).
“It’s going well,” said Martin, who won the pole for the 2009 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “They have some stuff that grips better than the tire that we ran here last fall. That tire had great durability … and they’re trying to find something that has that same durability and be a little more grip friendly.”
In addition to Martin and Truex, Jr.’s times, Edwards posted a top lap of 30.022 seconds (184.665 mph) on the second test day, while Hornish, Jr. posted a lap of 30.227 (183.412).
“Goodyear’s brought a few different types of tires and I ran on a bunch of the tires today,” said Edwards. “This afternoon we’re going to do long runs on them. They seem pretty good.
“The tire we raced here last time, I’ve driven a couple on short runs. A couple tires they brought I think are better than that tire,” Edwards compared. “[They’re] more drivable and maybe lend themselves to better racing.”
In addition to testing tires, Edwards commented on just enjoying being at one of his favorite racing facilities.
“There’s no track I like racing at more than Atlanta,” said Edwards. “I was just telling Ed Clark (AMS president) yesterday, ‘Do not pave this place. Do not change it. Don’t listen to anything people write. If people start complaining about it, just let it go because it’s the best surface we race on.’
“It’s the best shape I think and the best banking graduation,” he continued. “As a driver, you can drive down the corner at 200 mph and the car can pitch sideways and you can still control it and race and that’s so much more fun than a lot of mile-and-a-halfs that we go to, so I really love this place.”
The test results and comments from the drivers resulted in praise for Goodyear from Atlanta Motor Speedway president Clark.
“I salute the engineers from Goodyear for their diligent work on this tire,” said Clark. “Judging from the comments we’re received from the four drivers, all indications are the Kobalt Tools 500 will be on of the most competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events we’ve seen at Atlanta Motor Speedway in quite some time.”
For more information on the Kobalt Tools 500 or to purchase tickets, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.