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NASCAR Notes: Biffle Would Veto Kansas’ Repave

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 7 2011

Greg Biffle heads out onto the 1.5-mile Texas track on Thursday. On Wednesday, he said he does not favor a repave at Kansas. (RacinToday.com/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Kansas City, Kan. – During a visit to Kansas Speedway this week, Greg Biffle issued an off-the-cuff plea. Don’t repave the track, he said of the place where he has won twice in the last five years.

The plea likely comes too late.

Last year, RacinToday reported that Kansas officials were seeking permission to repave and reconfigure the track with progressive banking, and when told of that Wednesday, Biffle sighed.

“I like the quote ‘If it’s not broke don’t fix it’, Biffle said. “To me, you look at the product in racing we got. It’s pretty darn good. Pretty competitive, side-by-side. This race track, when you compare it to all the mile-and-a-halves, has pretty good racing. Now.”

The asphalt at Kansas has drawn criticism for the strips of tar that have been used to fill cracks. Extreme Kansas weather has also taken a toll and necessitated patch jobs. Hence the request by officials.

Still, Biffle says he would prefer that the track be kept as it is.

“There’s always the unknown,” he said. “I like the side of not taking the risk. If I got good racing now, and I’m happy or I’m above average when it comes to my show or my race, which (Kansas) is, why take the chance and what’s my upside and what’s my downside.”

The request to do the work on Kansas will soon go to parent company International Speedway Corp.

If OK’d, speedway officials will have to schedule the work, which could be tricky now that Kansas has two races and a short off-season construction window.

Biffle won Sprint Cup races at the track in 2007 and 2010.

Kyle Busch seems happy with test results for former Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen went through a two-day test for Busch’s Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series team early in the week at Gresham Motorsports Park in Georgia, and then a one-day test at Rockingham.

“The test went really well at Gresham,” Busch said Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway, site of this

Kyle Busch, team owner, may have found himself a driver. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Erik J. Perel)

weekend’s racing. “Kimi is a race car driver so he does know how to drive race cars and drive them well. I wasn’t there until later on in the afternoon on the first day and I got to see it first hand. I got in the truck myself and ran some laps to see how I compared to where he was at on tires and stuff and we ran identical lap times, so he’s right there – he knows what he’s doing. They ran another day at Gresham and was kind of getting his feet used to caution laps, running down pit road, watching the lights on the tach and how all that goes. Working on some restart stuff and getting him accustomed to coming up through the gears quick and not spinning the tires on restarts.

“There’s still some things that we’d like to work on a little bit more, but we don’t feel like there’s any time before he gets back.  There was another test today, they were in Rockingham (N.C.) with our trucks and he did good again, ran a lot better than we expected to run there a lot faster than we expected to run there.  I’m real happy with it.”

After the Rockingham test, crew chief Eric Phillips said, “We only ran about 50 laps today because it was obvious that we didn’t need to get much more out of this test,” said Phillips “The kid definitely knows how to drive.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, a former F-1 driver himself, said he was not surprised that Raikkonen ran laps similar to those of Busch.

“No, not really. He’s been driving rally cars and things and moving around a lot in unpredictable things like that,” Montoya, who drives Cup cars for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, said. “So, no, I am not surprised at all. I think Kimi has a lot of talent. It will be interesting to see when he gets to a big track, you have to be a little more patient. I think he will be fine. He is pretty good. They asked me before what were his chances, if anybody can do it, it will be him. I think he will be OK.”

Trevor Bayne returns to the place where it all started this weekend.

Bayne got his first Cup start last fall at Texas Motor Speedway. He finished 17th in a Wood Brothers Ford.

Trevor Bayne got his start at Texas. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

Asked Friday if he felt Bayne might be something special after last year’s race, Wood Brothers co-owner Eddie Wood on Friday, said, “Yeah but when we left here we didn’t have any idea he was going to be our driver this year. We didn’t know how that was going to turn out. I knew there was something special about him though. I knew that the first day I ever met him. There still is something special about him. We will come out of here and get back to 1.5-mile stuff next week where we are usually at our best. We are glad to get started here this week in a little while.”

Bayne, of course, won this year’s Daytona 500.

With the Sprint Cup moving to a Saturday night time spot this spring in Texas, practice was held on Thursday.

Those practices were daytime jobs, though. Tony Stewart was asked if he thought they should be night practices.

“Yeah, but I still like today’s schedule better than what we’ve had,” he said. “I don’t know about the other drivers, but we came in today so I only have to stay here two nights.  I got to stay in my own bed one more night than I normally do.  It’s little things like that that mean a lot to us drivers.  I don’t know – I was pretty grateful to have that night at home again.”

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

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 7 2011
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