June 24, 2021

by a NASCAR fanatic - not affiliated with NASCAR

– We’re in the second straight week of open testing here at the ROVAL. And for the second week in a row, we saw drivers crash, we saw NASCAR make changes to the track. And all drivers agreeing– the learning curve is steep.

– The track is definitely a big challenge. I feel like by yourself it’s a big challenge. It’s very narrow. You slip one little bit, and you’re kind of offline and maybe on the grass or whatever. So you’re pushing your line, but you’re also trying to not make mistakes. So it’s probably the biggest challenge we have, but it’s a lot of fun.

– You know, you going to Watkins Glen, Sonoma, and you’ve got a lot of muscle memory. You’ve got points that you look at on the racetrack and you know, OK, I’ve got to break there, I’ve got to shift here. Here, it’s kind of based off of feel. You don’t have notes to go off of. You’re just going out and making your new notebook every time.

– It’s quite a bit different learning curve here. This is unique to anything we’ve ever done, even the road course races that I’ve done in my career. So today, for me, it’s just about getting more and more comfortable on the racetrack. And hopefully when we come back in the fall, we’ll be able to be aggressive and be pretty good.

ALAN CAVANNA: And remember, this race will not be equal for everybody. This is a playoff race, meaning it could help extend your championship hopes, advance to the next round. I talked to drivers already in the playoffs, who say the time here today was invaluable.

– It’s obviously an elimination race and a playoff, which makes it pretty important in a lot of ways. And guys who maybe had a couple of bad races in that round can have a shot to get back in it. And we just want to figure out what we got to do to make speed around here and get some more laps and figure it out. I haven’t been here at all. A few of these other guys have had some chances to run this place before. So just trying to learn today and figure out and learn more about and figure out how to make speed.

– It’s very important to make sure you have a car that’s quick because you’re gonna have to stay out of the crashes, and we’re going to crash a lot. Yeah, we’re gonna crash a lot of stuff. So you want to make sure you’re fast enough to be in front of it, although there will be points in the race that I’m sure strategy will play out to where the good cars are in the back. So it’s going to be a race to survival, that’s for sure.

– And today was the final test for Cup teams here at the ROVAL before the race in September, so you’ve got what you got in terms of information. NASCAR says no more changes to the track are expected, so a lot to learn before September.