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First Race Set For Newly Reconfigured Track at Texas Motor Speedway

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NASCAR is headed to Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) this weekend for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, on Sunday, April 8. This Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event is being held a year after the speedway (in Fort Worth) debuted its repaved and reconfigured 1.5-mile circuit. The renovation addressed drainage issues, made a wider race surface (going from 60 feet to 80), and reduced the banking on turns one and two. With the improved asphalt grip level came the added bonus of increased speeds (seen when last fall’s Busch Pole Award was won by Kurt Busch at a 200.915 mph qualifying record.)

In an effort to endorse side-by-side racing, this track (despite its youth) needs to pair nicely with a number of competition concepts: achieve effective tire wear, a variety of grooves, and additional handling features of a well-worn track. Add to that the fact Goodyear recently announced that Xfinity Series and Monster Energy teams will race on a new left-side tire (developing from a Texas Motor Speedway tire test in January), and race fans will see some action like never before – on a tire designed to wear faster and dispel more heat.

Track Surface and Tire Technology Pair-Up for First Race at TMS

Photo: Facebook/Texas Motor Speedway

Regarding the track surface and the new tire, Goodyear’s director of racing, Greg Stucker, explained, “This being just the third NASCAR Cup race since the repave, the track surface has not really had the chance to weather in, so to speak. This new left-side tire matches up well with this still-smooth surface and will accomplish our goal of increased wear and laying rubber on the track. That should lead to an increased level of fall-off over the course of a fuel run and a widened racing groove.” To prepare for this upcoming race, officials at the track have employed the use of a “Tire Dragon,” four tires dragged on the back of a tractor which are used to apply rubber to the different lanes.

Track Surface and Tire Technology Pair-Up for First Race at TMS

Photo: Facebook/Texas Motor Speedway

While the drivers log into their various social media accounts to weigh-in on the TMS track surface, and track officials continue targeting the surface at higher lanes, fans are getting ready to hang onto their seats for this much-anticipated first race in the Lone Star State. Jimmie Johnson holds the best Texas Motor Speedway record, including seven wins and five second-place finishes, but you can’t pigeon-hole this Hendrick Motorsports driver as the favorite on this new surface. Among those winless drivers at the speedway, Brad Keselowski, and season champion for 2017, Martin Truex Jr., are still considered top contenders.