Teams Confront Entirely Different Kansas Speedway
Loose the Dragon. That’s as in Kansas Speedway’s Tire Dragon, a device that’s been in use around the clock since the completion of the track’s repaving and reconfiguration in late summer. The machine uses more than 200 Goodyear tires to “rubber in” the new surface, which will see cars on track with testing by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.
Additionally, a number of drivers – Randy LaJoie, David Green, Brian Keselowski, Steve Grissom, Justin Labonte and Brad Noffsinger – have been circling the 1.5-mile track in retired NASCAR Sprint Cup cars running higher lines to encourage multiple grooves with additional rubber. The same two processes were employed successfully in 2011 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Teams will see two major changes when they arrive in Kansas City, Kan. There’s the brand-new asphalt surface eliminating the seams that previously held the winter-ravaged and deteriorating pavement together and upset the handling of the race cars.
Kansas Speedway’s turns also have been reconfigured, relegating teams’ previous set-up manuals to the rubbish bin. The track’s turns were banked 15 degrees from apron to SAFER barrier. Variable banking of 17 through 20 degrees, much like that of Homestead-Miami Speedway, should create multiple racing grooves. Computer modeling based on the geometry of the track after the reconfiguration was completed has all three lines within 0.1 seconds of each other. The computer says the highest line – 20 degrees – is the fastest way around the track.