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Kansas Notes: Drivers Dealing With ‘Tar Of Death’

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, October 2 2009
The tarred-over seems at Kansas Speedway are giving drivers fits this weekend.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The tarred-over seems at Kansas Speedway are giving drivers fits this weekend. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Kansas City, Kan. – It seems there could be trouble with the racing surface at Kansas Speedway. That trouble would be with the seams. The tar filling the seams, to be exact, is sending the Sprint Cup cars off their intended course.

Driver Kurt Busch called it, “The tar of death”.

Jeff Gordon said, “The seams are unreal. I don’t know if they put a different sealer on them or what’s going on. The seams, beside the wind, are playing havoc today.”

The four-time champion said the tar-covered seams are forcing drivers to make decisions.

“You either got to go above them, straddle them or somehow get below them,” Gordon said. “It’s definitely challenging.”

Busch said, “Last year I had a hard time here at Kansas. I don’t know when they put that tar sealant down to help with drainage, water getting into the cracks and pot holes developing or big bumps…(but) I couldn’t go from the second lane to the third lane or the second lane back to the first lane without crossing the ‘tar of death’. It was tough.”

The feud between Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski simmers on.

The two tangled in the late going of the Nationwide race at Dover last weekend. Afterward, they got into a lively discussion in the pits.

Hamlin was asked Friday if he was good with Keselowski a week after the fact.

“I still see it the same way,” Hamlin said. “I still don’t agree with him and he hasn’t called me to reach out to say he’s sorry so as far as I’m concerned, he needs to be worried whenever I’m around.”

Two points, Keselowski said.

First, he said, there will be no reaching out because he felt that the problem was with Hamlin. Second, he will definitely not be worried when he’s around Hamlin.

“I don’t wish to have any conflict…but I’m not going to avoid him,” Keselowski said. “I feel like I’m tough enough to where it doesn’t bother me.”

Kansas Speedway officials on Friday announced they were joining sister track Chicagoland Speedway in revamping its season-ticket program next season.

For the first time, Kansas Speedway will offer ticketing options besides a season ticket. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase a weekend only package that will include the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kansas 400 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300.

Also new in 2010 is the option for fans to purchase the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 and the IndyCar Series Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 individually.

Kansas Speedway will continue to offer fans a season ticket option, which will include four races over two weekends and access to the new Track Pass, which will allow season ticket holders access to the infield to take part in driver introductions and Sprint FanWalk in the infield for each Sunday race.

Word out of California is that the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana is considering increasing its banking from 14 to 23 degrees in an effort to spark fan interest.

Opinions from drivers on the prospect of the change varied at Kansas on Friday.

“It would change a lot,” Kasey Kahne said. “It’s a fairly fast track now just because of the size of the track. The corner speed is a whole lot but the size of the track is big so if you were to bank it, more than likely you would have to do some type of restrictors, I would think.”

Gordon said leave the the track alone.

“There is nothing wrong with the race track out there,” Gordon said. “I don’t think you are going to do anything that is going to change the level of interest.”

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, October 2 2009
2 Comments

2 Comments »

  • John Sturbin says:

    Sounds like Cup crew chiefs will need to be re-calculating their framis-adjustments all weekend to get over all that sealant. Is it anything like the “Bear Grease” that Ken Schrader fretted about during the formative years of Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth?

    • No, I actually heard that this was compared to the sealer at Richmond back a few years ago. Except that this time, it’s not all over the track, so the drivers are panicking.

      There was a rumour that the framii of the #5 and #48 didn’t pass inspection post qualifying, but no one has officially reported it, so they must have just been right at the tolerance.