Kentucky test shows not all things change even with repave and reconfiguration

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While it needed to be done, Kentucky Speedway’s repave and reconfiguration is not coming at a good time for reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch.

Mired in a four-race slump where he’s not finished better than 30th, Busch faces races at Sonoma and Daytona — where it is easy to get into trouble — before returning to Kentucky Speedway for the first race on its new surface.

Monday, Busch was among 14 drivers testing at Kentucky. NASCAR allowed each organization to have one team at the test to gather data on the new surface and the changes made to Turns 1 and 2 with the reconfiguration.

Busch admits new surfaces are not his forte.

“I don’t like repaves at all,’’ Busch said during a break in testing Monday. “I struggle on repaves. I did win the last race here at Kentucky Speedway before they repaved it. I won the last race at Michigan (International) Speedway before they repaved it. I won the last race at Bristol before (track surface changes). I have a history of being really good before they tear it all up and screw it all up for me.’’

Some drivers didn’t want to see Kentucky Speedway repaved, but with water coming up through the track after rain, further delaying track activity, and the bumps worsening, it became apparent the surface needed work.

“Essentially, the weepers were just so bad that we could never get it dry enough,’’ Busch said. “The racetrack was dry, but it was still weeping water hours later, days later. That’s frustrating for us drivers trying to put on a good show for the race fans. Hopefully those situations have been … rectified and we won’t have that situation going forward.’’

Busch, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney talked to the media Monday after some time on the track.

Harvick said Monday was for prepping the track and that the relevant information with the lower downforce package, which also was used at Michigan, will come.

“It’s going to be until (Tuesday) before you really know where you need to be,’’ Harvick said. “(Monday), you’re just really trying to get track maps and know where the bumps are and try to get some sort of rhythm when the track gets conditioned. (Tuesday) with rubber on the racetrack you’ll be able to get a much better read for where the speed is going to be and how you’re car is going to actually drive.’’

All three agreed, though, that Turn 3 will remain a challenge. The banking was increased in Turns 1 and 2 from 14 to 17 degrees. Turns 3 and 4 remain 14 degrees.

“Turns 1 and 2, being more banked, we are definitely carrying a lot more speed through there,’’ Blaney said. “It does make your entrance into Turn 3 a lot more difficult. It was already difficult the way it was. It’s so flat getting into Turn 3 and then that transition is tough. Now … it seems you’re going to be a bit more faster.

“You can definitely feel the speed difference. We always worked on the entrance to (Turn) 3 here. That’s always the biggest problem in the race, trying to make sure your car is tight enough into (Turn) 3. Now it seems to be more of a factor.’’