The build up to the 2019 Daytona 500 got underway yesterday in California with the first of a two-day Goodyear tire test at Auto Club Speedway.
The first drivers to see on-track action this year were Martin Truex Jr., defending champion Joey Logano and Daniel Suarez.
While it’s Truex (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Suarez’s (Stewart-Haas Racing) first time in the car with their new teams, it’s also one of the first chances drivers have gotten to experience the Cup Series’ new rules package.
With the package, which includes a tapered spacer, teams will have 550 horsepower at tracks 1.33 miles and larger, and 750 horsepower at tracks shorter than 1.33 miles. Auto Club Speedway is a 2-mile oval.
Here’s a look at how the test played out Wednesday via social media. As you can tell, the drivers didn’t keep to themselves on the track.
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While many are counting down to the Daytona 500 (39 days), the first NASCAR action of 2019 is here with a two-day Goodyear tire test.
Three Cup Series teams will test Wednesday and Thursday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
Joey Logano (Team Penske), Martin Truex Jr. (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Daniel Suarez (Stewart-Haas Racing) will participate in the test.
The test will be the first on-track action for Truex and Suarez with their new teams. Suarez was announced as joining SHR on Monday.
Ticket owners for the March 17 Auto Club 400 will be able to watch the test Wednesday. They can watch from the Infield Terrace Suite rooftops just above pit road from 1 – 7 p.m ET.
Hard Card members (ticket holders who renewed their tickets before the deadline) will have the opportunity to reserve a seat to attend a special Q&A session with Logano on Wednesday after the session concludes.
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The postponed Food City 500 and a wet and cold forecast has forced Goodyear to reschedule this week’s tire test at Michigan International Speedway.
Originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, the test will now occur next week from April 24-25.
The move means that a scheduled tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for those days will be rescheduled to an undetermined date.
The Michigan test takes priority with the first NASCAR race weekend at the 2-mile speedway scheduled for June 8-10. NASCAR won’t visit IMS until Sept. 7-9.
“Hopefully, this will give us much more representative conditions of what to expect for race time in June,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, in a press release. “Since our Indy tire test was planned for this time, we’ll have to move that test to sometime in June or July.”
Teams and drivers scheduled to test at Michigan are Furniture Row Racing (Martin Truex Jr.), Hendrick Motorsports (Alex Bowman), Team Penske (Brad Keselowski), Richard Childress Racing (Austin Dillon) and Stewart-Haas Racing (Aric Almirola).
Indianapolis test teams include Chip Ganassi Racing (Jamie McMurray), Joe Gibbs Racing (Daniel Suarez), Roush Fenway Racing (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) and Wood Brothers Racing (Paul Menard).
A two-day Goodyear tire test is underway at Texas Motor Speedway.
Involved in the test are Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott and defending Cup champion Martin Truex Jr.
While Blaney and Almirola are debuting with new teams, it’s Elliott’s ride that is the most newsworthy.
With the No. 9 now emblazoned on the side of his car instead of the No. 24, Elliott became the first driver to pilot the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on a track.
“Behind the wheel it’s really hard to tell what changes are when you are out there by yourself,” Elliott said during media availability. “I think the changes will probably become more apparent, hopefully, when we get to say Atlanta or get to some of the tracks that the changes are going to become important at. Out there making laps it is so hard to tell. I think until we get into those situations and kind of get some races under our belt as not only an organization, but as a manufacturer as a whole to see exactly how we stack up I think it will be tough to say until then.”
Also of note, Blaney announced he’ll be getting a pre-season haircut.
Look below for images and video from the fog-covered test.
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Five teams will participate in a Goodyear tire test today and Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway.
Testing will be Joey Logano (Team Penske), Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing), Erik Jones (Furniture Row Racing), Danica Patrick (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Alex Bowman (Hendrick Motorsports).
The test is closed to the public.