New Hampshire to add traction compound to racing surface

Photo: Dustin Long
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New Hampshire Motor Speedway officials will add the PJ1 traction compound to the racing surface before this weekend’s racing, a track spokesperson confirmed to NBC Sports.

Track officials are scheduled to put the traction compound on the track today and are expected to do so again Saturday and Sunday, pending NASCAR approval. The track reapplied the traction compound the morning of last July’s race.

The traction compound is to be applied to the first groove (lowest groove) and third grove (just outside the main groove) in all four corners. A track spokesperson said the traction compound would be applied on the 12 feet at the bottom of the track from the yellow line on up. Then there will be a 12-foot section that will not be applied (the main groove) and the traction compound is to be applied on another 12 feet above the main grove

The track used the PJ1 compound for both Cup weekends last year to help enhance the passing.

Front Row Motorsports released statement from Michael McDowell and David Ragan on the use of the compound agent.

Michael McDowell

“I’m not a fan of the ‘grip strip.’ It’s not because it doesn’t provide good racing. I thought Bristol was a great race. I think it opened up opportunities for better racing there. But, it’s really hard to tune. It’s really hard to end Happy Hour and say ‘OK, we’re going to be really good in the race.’ There’s that variable that just changes so much when you put something like that down on the track, where a little bit of heat or a little bit of moisture, or you get enough cars on it to activate it, it just makes for a tough race if you don’t hit it right.”

David Ragan

“If they continue to put the PJ1 in the center and outside groove, I think that gives us some more options. It reacts differently with the amount of rubber laid down, with the temperature in the asphalt, and it’s also different in asphalt versus concrete. So, we’re just starting to get a little more understanding on how it’s going to react and how it changes throughout a weekend. I think there’s a place for it in our sport and certain types of tracks. I think New Hampshire is one of those tracks where I wasn’t very happy that they put it down last year, but I think it did give us more options and provided more side-by-side racing. We’re just still learning how to fine-tune it.”

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