Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams concluded a two-day organizational test Wednesday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
One car from each active Cup organization was permitted to participate. Kyle Busch, who drives the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, was among those who took to the 1-mile track and he said the goal was clear.
“Tires are the name of the game,” said Kyle Busch, who owns two wins, nine top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 24 career starts at NHMS. “That’s what we all rely on and what connects the car to the ground, so you’ve got to make the tires last.
“The biggest thing here is over the course of the run you either get really tight or you get really loose, so trying to maintain that balance and maintain the air pressure and tire temperatures throughout an 80-lap run is big. Just trying to make the tires happier and last longer, that’s what we’re working on.”
Others who participated in the session included Brad Keselowski of Team Penske, Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports, Trevor Bayne of Roush Fenway Racing, Ty Dillon of Germain Racing, Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing, Ryan Newman of Richard Childress Racing, Ryan Blaney of Wood Brothers Racing, Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing, plus “school cars” driven by Alex Bowman for Chevrolet, David Ragan for Ford and Drew Herring for Toyota.
Some were just getting to know the track. Others were simply refreshing their memories.
“The principle is always the same. It’s a big Martinsville,” Newman said of New Hampshire, where he owns three wins, seven top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in 30 career starts.
Well, maybe it’s always the same. And maybe not.
“It used to be when you were good at Phoenix, then you’d be good at Loudon,” Newman added. “Or if you were good at Loudon, you were good at Pheonix. But it doesn’t seem to make sense like that anymore.”
He hopes it does soon, though, since Newman won at Phoenix earlier this season.
“Having said that, we won at Phoenix – so we’ll see what happens,” he said. “I wish it (translated), but just in general it’s so unique now the ways the cars are set up.”
Busch said nothing he learned over the two-day test will apply to this weekend at Dover, even though it also is a 1-mile track.
“They are both one-milers, but that’s about it,” Busch said. “You know with the concrete (surface) that Dover has and the way the speeds are, Dover is like a big mile-and-a-half speedway and New Hampshire runs more like a short track.”
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