Oh, and the track is fast. They all said that, too.
“This place is fast. I mean fast, fast,” NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Juan Pablo Montoya said. “Our minimum speed this morning was over 180 mph through the corner when you think about it. We are doing easily over 210 mph at the end of the straight.
“For a car like this, it is really, really quick. It is a lot of fun. I think as the track links up I think it is going to bring great racing. That is pretty good.”
Montoya knows good racing. As an Indianapolis 500 winner, CART champion and multiple winner in the FIA Formula One World Championship, he also knows speed.
Official speeds were not available. But participating drivers said and tweeted they unofficially topped speeds of about 215 mph.
“I’m not sure I want to know I’m going that fast,” Gordon joked.
A Goodyear Tire test isn’t necessarily about speed. The test is about collecting data so the tire company can build a good race tire for the track’s NASCAR events.
This is the fourth time the racetrack has been repaved. The track was built in 1968, and repaved in 1977, 1986 and 1995.
In fact, most drivers don’t like repaves, they said. They like racing on old pavement.
However, this is the best repave Gordon said he’s seen. And it’s one of his favorite racetracks.
“I am not a big fan of repaves so the fact that I am talking positive about it and still enjoying the racetrack as much as I always have I think that is a sign where I rank it. I rank it very high,” Gordon said.
“Whatever it is about this track, it has just always had a great feel to it. Instead of having to go in and recreate some of that like some track have had to do, they were basically able to pave over the top of what they had, fix whatever they could to keep it lasting as long as possible, which you would typically do on a repave.
“The track drives so similar to the way it did before and it is going to have multiple groves.”
All the drivers added they believe Ryan Newman’s track qualifying record of 194.232 mph set back in 2005 is in jeopardy.