After trying a suggestion from a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Martinsville Speedway won’t make any changes to its track surface for its Chase race later this month, track and series officials told NBC Sports on Thursday.
Kevin Harvick suggested NASCAR use the same substance on Martinsville Speedway that was applied to Bristol Motor Speedway’s surface in August.
Bristol treated its lower groove with a substance similar to what is used at the starting area in drag racing to help tires gain grip. NASCAR stated that resin was put on that track after the Camping World Truck Series race and then the Xfinity Series race.
The result was two-wide racing. The 20 lead changes in Bristol’s Sprint Cup race ranked second among the track’s last eight races.
Harvick applauded the changes and said more tracks should be treated as Bristol was.
“Martinsville would probably be the best example,’’ Harvick said after his win at Bristol. “It’s been really, really hard to race at Martinsville over the past couple of years. I think this particular style of procedures … really works well on the concrete style of racetracks. You’ve got Bristol, you’ve got Martinsville and you’ve got Dover.
“I think this has opened everybody’s eyes to say, ‘All right we need to do something to the surface to get these guys a little more grip and multiple grooves so they can look around and do things differently and pass each and get back to doing what NASCAR racing is all about.’ ‘’
Martinsville Speedway applied the substance to its top groove in the corners during Wednesday’s tire test, the second of a two-day test.
Martin Truex Jr., one of four drivers who took part in the session designed for the 2017 season, doesn’t think Martinsville should do anything to its track next year.
“It wasn’t as tacky as it was at Bristol,’’ Truex said of Martinsville’s surface after it was treated. “I don’t know if there was less of it down. The thing I didn’t like about it was that you could pretty much run anywhere on the racetrack in the concrete in the corners and run like the exact same speed.
“Martinsville is a really difficult track, line sensitive. Certain guys have certain things figured out about it, and I felt like it took a lot of that away. It made it easy to where anybody could get around there.
“I felt like with the second groove being as fast as the first I don’t know how you would pass anyone. The great racing at Martinsville is the fight for the bottom. If you can’t hold the bottom you’re going to get passed. In that case. I don’t believe Martinsville is a place we ought to mess with.’’