LOUDON, New Hampshire – New Hampshire Motor Speedway reapplied traction compound Sunday morning for the Overton’s 301 Cup race.
The 1.058-mile oval applied a 10-foot wide strip in the high lane and a 5-foot swath in the lower lane before the race weekend began and on Friday night, intending for the sticky substance to widen the racing groove (which normally is in the middle).
Steve Swift, the vice president of operations and development for Speedway Motorsports Inc. (New Hampshire’s parent company), said the track applied the substance at 8 a.m. Sunday in the same spots (which were requested by the Cup Drivers Council).
Drivers said the compound mostly wore off after a Saturday of racing that included the Xfinity, Modified and K&N Series, compounded by a one-hour rain delay (the Air Titan equipment has an adverse effect on the “track bite,” which is referred to as PJ1 and VHT).
“It definitely did go away,” Kyle Busch said Saturday after winning the Xfinity race from the pole position. “I think the Modifieds actually took most of it away. Those cars’ (bias-ply) tires are just so wide, and I think they’re just extra sticky, so they pulled it up off the race track before we really had a chance to see what it would do with these radial tires from Goodyear, but we’ll see what happens (Sunday).
“It’s going to change. It’s going to be ever changing and I think that’s just the theme of it that you can never know what to expect and you’ve always got to be ready for anything.”
New Hampshire joins Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway in applying the traction compound this season. Swift said early reviews from drivers at New Hampshire had been positive.
Jimmie Johnson said Friday that he was encouraged that tracks were being proactive.
“The wrong move would be for us to do nothing,” he said. “The wrong move would be for us not to experiment, especially early in the year. I truly feel the way we can add lanes through this product or whatever is developed from here.
“We have to explore, we have to try, we will develop and evolve the process. I think a year from now, we’ll have a much clearer vision on what works and how to do it.”