NASCAR confirmed Monday that the PJ1 traction compound will be applied in all four corners at Michigan International Speedway for this weekend’s Cup and Gander Outdoors Truck Series races.
It will mark the first time the track has applied a traction compound.
NASCAR stated to NBC Sports that the traction compound will be applied to the top 40 feet in the corners.
That goes with what Denny Hamlin said this past weekend about where the traction compound should be placed at tracks.
“The goal with it has been to not put it in the second lane where you have a Michigan-type effect where it becomes a total primary groove and nobody can run on the bottom because they will get freight-trained,” said Hamlin, who is among the drivers consulting NASCAR on where to use the traction compound at tracks. “You try to put it in the third lane to then give someone the option to run a shorter distance and maybe either slide up to the sticky stuff or use it if people are running in the lower groove.”
The move comes after the June race at Michigan did not produce all the desired results with the racing.
“I have never been penalized for trying to make a pass in my whole life since I was four years old,” Clint Bowyer said after he was eliminated in an accident and finished 35th in the June Michigan race. “You get a run on somebody and you can’t make a complete pass and by the time you get to the next corner you have been passed by four people. It is really, really frustrating.”
That was not a unique problem.
“I kept getting runs and going underneath guys and beating them through the corner, but if you can’t clear them, you lose two or three to four spots every time,” said Martin Truex Jr., who finished third in that race.
Even so, the 20 lead changes in the June race were tied for the most since there were 25 lead changes in the race Jimmie Johnson won there in June 2014.
The traction compound was most recently used in July at Pocono Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. It was not used last weekend at Watkins Glen International.
This past weekend, NASCAR confirmed it is considering using the traction compound at ISM Raceway, which hosts the season’s penultimate race for the Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series.