Teams testing at Las Vegas report slower speeds

Photo by Jeff Speer
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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.