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Goodyear won’t be able to do Texas Motor Speedway tire test after repave

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Goodyear stated that it will not be able to conduct a tire test at Texas Motors Speedway following completion of the repave and reconfiguration project the track announced Friday morning.

In addition to the repave, the track is reducing the banking in Turns 1 and 2 from 24 degrees to 20 degrees. The racing surface’s width will expand from 60 to 80 feet in those turns. The banking and racing surface in Turns 3 and 4 will not change.

The project – which begins Monday – is scheduled for completion in early March, but Goodyear said in a statement that the narrow window before NASCAR’s April 7-9 race dates at Texas prevents the tire manufacturer from holding a test.

“We have been kept completely in the loop as the folks at SMI and Texas Motor Speedway considered this move and now, with the announcement that they will both repave and reconfigure their track starting next week, there is no question Goodyear will have to bring a new tire set-up for the NASCAR weekend scheduled there in April,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s Director of Racing, in the statement.

“Because of the tight schedule, we will not have time to do a tire test at Texas, so we will look at the details of the new configuration and understand the asphalt mix that will be used, which is planned to be similar to what was used most recently at Kentucky. That being said, this project will take on a similar feel to the one at Kentucky because that was also both a repave and reconfiguration.’

Kentucky Speedway underwent a repave last year while also altering the banking in Turns 1 and 2.

“Having that recent history, along with our experience with a wide range of track configurations and surfaces – including many that have been repaved over the recent years – we will determine the appropriate tire set-up in advance of the event, giving teams plenty of time to prepare.”

During the track’s announcement, Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, said “it would probably be wise” for NASCAR to have an extended race weekend in order for teams to prepare for the new configuration.

“We’re going to strongly encourage Goodyear to test and not just bring a hard tire,” Gossage said. “That would a mistake. We’re going to work hard to try to get Goodyear to do that.”

Currently, Goodyear has seven tire tests planned for the year, six of them involving Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams. One test occurs the week of the Texas race, at Michigan International Speedway.

Here are Goodyear’s planned test dates:

– Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Jan. 10-11
– Michigan International Speedway: April 4-5
– Indianapolis Motor Speedway: April 25-26
– Kentucky Speedway: May 9-10
– Eldora Speedway (Trucks): May 15-16
– Chicagoland Speedway: June 6-7
– Atlanta Motor Speedway: August 8-9

My Home Tracks: New Mexico’s the Land of Enchantment and home of Cardinal Speedway

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The state of New Mexico is known more for IndyCar racing, with the Unser family being the state’s favorite sons.

Al Unser won four Indianapolis 500s, brother Bobby three and Al’s son Al Jr. a two-time winner (this weekend’s 500 marks the 25th anniversary of Little Al’s second 500 triumph).

But there’s a strong grassroots racing scene in the Land of Enchantment, particularly in the far southeast corner of the state at Cardinal Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in the little town of Eunice.

NASCAR America continues its My Home Track series of 50 states in 50 shows.

Wednesday, we visit New York state.

2018 NASCAR schedule changes: EVP Steve O’Donnell breaks it down (video)

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On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell joined us to discuss the NASCAR Cup schedule changes in 2018, including running a road race at Charlotte and having Indianapolis be the final race before the playoffs.

“I’m real excited about these changes,” said O’Donnell, who cited unprecedented cooperation between NASCAR, its teams, drivers and sponsors to reach agreement on the schedule changes.

Among the key changes: Las Vegas will kick off the 10-race playoffs in 2018 (Chicagoland Speedway, which will have hosted the last seven playoff openers, will return to its more traditional race date in early July/late June and serve as a run-up to the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona.

Several other changes include:

  • The fall playoff race at Charlotte will move up a couple weeks in the schedule and also incorporate competition on both the infield road course and part of the speedway itself.
  • After 14 years as the deciding race to qualify for the NASCAR Cup playoffs, Richmond International Raceway will now become the second race of the playoffs.
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway will see it’s Brickyard 400 go from late July to become the final qualifying race for the playoffs in early September.

Catch up on all the changes in the above video.

Tony Stewart pulled over by state trooper, but it’s not for speeding

Photo courtesy Damein Cunningham Twitter account
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Retired NASCAR Cup driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart was stopped by an Illinois State Trooper over the weekend near DeKalb, Ill., about 90 minutes west of Chicago.

But before you think Stewart was stopped for speeding by Trooper Damein Cunningham, he wasn’t.

Rather, Cunningham pulled Stewart over for improper lane usage, although exactly what the infraction was is unclear.

After getting a verbal warning, Stewart gladly posed with Cunningham for a selfie, which the trooper promptly tweeted out.

“Just pulled over NASCAR LEGEND Tony Stewart on I-88 in DeKalb, IL, what you think I got him for? #NASCAR #ISP”

But according to the Chicago Tribune, Cunningham’s bosses apparently didn’t have a sense of humor about the incident or realize the good PR it meant for the Illinois State Police.

That, or they’re not Stewart or NASCAR fans. They ordered Cunningham to delete the tweet, which he did.

It’s unclear what Stewart, who was stopped on his 46th birthday, was doing in the Land of Lincoln.

But his luck went from bad to worse a few hours later. According to USA Today, Stewart and others were stuck in an elevator in a Madison, Wisconsin hotel for about 20 minutes before being rescued by firefighters.

We can just imagine what the elevator riders talked about while trapped.

How much do you want to bet Stewart said, “Man, do I have a story about a cop that I have to tell you.”

Cunningham then posted another tweet on Sunday after attending church services.

 

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All-Star Race will remain at Charlotte in 2018

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
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NASCAR confirmed that the All-Star Race will be held again at Charlotte Motor Speedway despite more of a push from competitors and others to move the event.

Criticism was raised after last weekend’s 70-lap event featured only three lead changes. Kyle Busch took the lead on the restart to begin the final 10-lap stage and went on to win. It marked the fourth time in the last five years the All-Star winner led every lap in the final stage. In 12 All-Star Races at Charlotte since the track was repaved, there have been two lead changes in the final five laps.

Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, was clear in a call with reporters Tuesday that the All-Star Race is set for Charlotte.

“We’ve finished our discussions for ’18,” he said. ” We’ll begin looking at ’19 and beyond in the near future.”

The All-Star Race debuted at Charlotte in 1985, moved to Atlanta in 1986 and returned to Charlotte the following year. It has been held at Charlotte ever since.

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