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Driver Opinions Vary On New Phoenix Surface

| , RacinToday.com Thursday, October 6 2011

Fans watch teams prepare their cars during this week's testing of the new surface at Phoenix. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR drivers completed a second day of testing of the new, reconfigured surface at Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday.

Several were asked their opinions of the new surface and how it will affect racing at the track when the Sprint Cup Series arrives for the penultimate Chase race.

Their answers follow:

Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing: “Certainly, it’s a lot better than what we’re accustomed to here a couple weeks ago doing the Goodyear tire test. With everything and the speeds we’ve been running here are more indicative to what we expected to run on the new asphalt with the surface and everything. It’s been good. Having 30 cars here rather than five and the temperatures being about 20 degrees cooler, it’s made it for a lot better conditions.

Kasey Kahne of Red Bull Racing: I think so far the track is great. I think it’s smooth, it’s going to be different. It’s going to be kind of exciting to see how it races, which is pretty cool. I’m looking forward to that. There’s not a lot of grip in the tires, so the more we run, the more rubber on the track, the better the tires feel, but I still feel to move out of that lane it’s going to be really difficult. Hopefully Goodyear really looks at it and brings the right tire to the race and the track rubbers in the right way and we have a good show. I think the track is great, I think what they did with it is really nice.”

Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing: “Whenever you introduce something new like this new surface and new track layout, there are going to be guys that figure it out quickly and there are going to be guys that struggle. It’s not necessarily the guys you expect.

“This race, I think we’re all going to come here with a little bit of nervousness, a little trepidation on, hey, do we have the right setup. As a driver, I have to ask myself, am I driving the right way around the racetrack. The way the surface is, it’s unforgiving so there could be some accidents and things happen that we don’t usually see at Phoenix.

“To me it’s going to be pretty amazing to be the penultimate race and have all those opportunities for something crazy to happen, it could shake everything up.”

David Reutimann of Michael Waltrip Racing: “I don’t know what it’s going to do for the racing yet. There hasn’t been enough rubber or laps put on the race track to really know what it’s going to be, but right now it’s not very good. Not very good at all, but it’s a new race track and we’re hoping once it get some rubber on it and we all get to work on our cars a bit it’ll continue to get better.”

Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing: “We’ve run a few laps so far and it’s a real challenge. I’m glad we’ve got two days to focus on this place. It’s a slick track and I’m not expecting it to change much when we return next month. Right now we’re trying to find the right balance and I’m looking for more grip. What we’re experiencing is pretty typical when we visit a new place like this. I’m looking forward to the race and I hope we are able to put on the show that everyone is expecting

| , RacinToday.com Thursday, October 6 2011
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