Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray clocked lap after lap at the 1.5-mile speedway on the sunny and windy day as Goodyear techs and the quartet of race teams banked valuable data to use in 2017 and beyond. The drivers enjoyed their time behind the wheel during the two-day test session.
“It’s fun to come out and test, and I like coming to Vegas,” said Kenseth, the Kobalt 400 champion in 2003, 2004 and 2013. “It seems like everything has slowed down (on the track), which makes for better racing. I’ve always liked the race track, have had some good runs here and had some wins here. “It’s a fun race track, a fun town and always a good environment, so I enjoy racing here.”
Logano understands the importance of the tire tests and what they can do for the sport. “You’re able to knock the rust off and try to come up with the best tire,” said Logano, the 2014 Kobalt 400 pole winner. “This is Goodyear’s test, and we’re here for Goodyear to make the best tire, not only for us drivers, but for the fans to have the best race to watch. There’s a lot of theories on what makes the best race, and we’re able to go through those and figure out what makes the track wide and let us move around.
“There are constant conversations about how we can make it better, and this is a great opportunity for us to test a lot of that.” Elliott got a lot out of the two-day session. “It’s felt really good to get back going again,” said Elliott, the 2016 NASCAR Rookie of the Year. “The time that passes between the last race and the first time you get back in a car seems like a long time. So, it’s good to get back in, get acclimated and try to sharpen up your skills.
“This is a good place to do it, and it’s similar to a lot of tracks we’ll go to this season, so it’s helpful in a lot of ways. Goodyear has been really good with how they’ve approached the test, and of all the tests I’ve done with them, this is as aggressive as I’ve seen them with making changes and trying new things with the tire. I think that’s encouraging, and I hope they can take the data and try to help us provide some better racing down the road.”
LVMS’ 2017 NASCAR Weekend begins on Friday, March 10, with Stratosphere Pole Day, continues with the Boyd Gaming 300 Xfinity Series race on Saturday, March 11, and concludes with the Kobalt 400 on Sunday, March 12. Tickets are available at www.lvms.com or by calling 1-800-644-4444.