Photo by Jeff Speer

Teams testing at Las Vegas report slower speeds

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Speeds were down for NASCAR Cup teams taking part in Tuesday’s Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first time teams have been on track this season with the new downforce package.

“Today was a little odd, because the track actually got slower the cooler it got, which is way different than normal,” Jamie McMurray said in comments the track released. “The pace was a little bit slower than what we ran last year, and I expect it’s going to be quite a bit slower when we get back here. With less downforce, you don’t get as much grip and the car slides around a little bit more, but the mid-corner speeds the last two years have been so high that it’s made it almost impossible to pass.

“So, the fact that you’re having to slow down now will make for better racing.

Matt Kenseth also said on SiriusXM Radio’s “Late Shift” that speeds were down during the test. No speeds were released.

McMurray and Kenseth were joined at the test by Joey Logano, runner-up in last year’s Las Vegas race, and Chase Elliott, giving each manufacturer one team. The test marked the debut of Toyota’s new Camry.

Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports team, was pleased with the team’s progress.

“It was nice to get back on the track and run here with the new rules package,” Gustafson said in comments the track released. “We learned some characteristics of the car and what we need to improve on. Goodyear brought a lot of options, and there was a large swing (of types), much more than a typical tire test. The tires were radically different, and it was fun and interesting.

“All in all, we got a lot of work done today, for sure. Getting (Goodyear) its information is priority one, and we did a good job doing that and learned a few things ourselves.”

The test, which is closed to the public, concludes Wednesday.

 

NASCAR America: Jimmie Johnson’s patience propels him to victory lane in Food City 500

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Jimmie Johnson is known for his patience behind the wheel. Where other drivers may get too hot under the collar and over-react, Johnson is typically cool as a cucumber — and that’s helped lead him to many of his 82 career NASCAR Cup wins.

That patience once again played out in Johnson’s win Monday in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, only his second career triumph (and first in seven years) at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”

On Monday’s NASCAR America, Greg Biffle and Kyle Petty discussed Johnson’s patience throughout Monday’s race.

 

 

Heavy foot on pit road foils Kyle Larson once again at Bristol

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Kyle Larson did everything he could to win Monday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

He led a race-high 203 laps in the 500-lap event, including dominating Stage 1, leading all 125 laps, as well as the first 77 laps in Stage 2.

But Larson, known for the heavy foot he has, saw that need for speed at the wrong time likely cost him the win.

When Erik Jones wrecked on Lap 422, Larson came to pit road and was too fast across two consecutive timing zones on the front straightaway en route to his pit stall.

“I was just pushing on pit road and messed up there,” Larson said after the race. “To start the race, I was the leader, I would run all my greens down pit road, and then once I fell back … down the straightaway I was running one red and flashed the second red real quick, and I guess that was all she wrote.”

NASCAR penalized Larson for speeding on pit road, dropping him to the back of the longest line, restarting in 20th place with 72 laps left in the race.

“Yeah, I knew I gave the race away there,” Larson said. “(I’m) disappointed in myself. I think I speed on pit road every single time I come to Bristol. So, I’ve got to clean that up.”

There’s that heavy foot admission once again.

Ironically, it was Larson’s first speeding penalty this season.

To his credit, Larson was able to quickly climb back up the grid, but couldn’t finish higher than sixth.

Still, Larson tried to a positive spin on things as he began to leave the track.

“I don’t know what more you could ask out of this place,” Larson said. “This is the best track we go to, most exciting place, and I love coming here.”

But he doesn’t like the way he came out of it once again, thanks to that darn heavy foot.

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NASCAR America: Dale Jarrett, Kelli Stavast recap Bristol driver performances

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After waiting out 28 straight hours of rain, Monday’s rescheduled Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway produced a rather exciting race.

The addition of adhesive to the lower grove at the track gave drivers additional grip that led to side-by-side and even three-wide racing.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Kelli Stavast discussed the top driver performances in Monday’s race.

 

 

NASCAR America: My Home Track: Maine’s Oxford Plains, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway

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NASCAR America’s My Home Track series continued Monday as we visited Maine, otherwise known as the Pine Tree State.

Not only is it a great state for racing, including places like Oxford Plains and Beach Ridge Motor Speedway, Maine also lays claim to NBCSN’s own Steve Letarte, who paid homage to his home state in Monday’s edition of NASCAR America.