New track surfaces require special attention and two races after a repaving and reconfiguration project at Texas Motor Speedway completed before the 2017 season, officials are again using a special piece of equipment known as a Tire Dragon — a sled that works rubber into the asphalt surface—to create multiple racing grooves.
The question is less of whether if they should use it, but rather where according to NASCAR America’s Kyle Petty and Jeff Burton.
“When you have a freshly paved racetrack—one that was just repaved, no races on it—I think you first have to establish a bottom groove,” Burton said during Tuesday’s NASCAR America. “Now, maybe you can establish a bottom groove and a second groove, which means you run the Tire Dragon longer. But anyone who has gone to a track with a repave — getting that first lane to come in is exceptionally difficult.”
Once the track is into its third Cup race, as Texas will be this weekend, the needs change.
The discussion was in response to a plea from Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his Dale Jr. Download podcast to run the Tire Dragon in something other than the preferred groove. Burton points out that track President Eddie Gossage not only agreed about the need to work in a second groove, but also tweeted about that to Junior.
For more about what Burton and Petty had to say about the Tire Dragon, watch the video above.