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NASCAR has no plans to add substance to tracks this season to enhance grip

Steve O'Donnell

Steve O’Donnell


A NASCAR executive discounted the notion that tracks will add a substance to their racing surface to enhance grip this year.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, made the comment Monday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

“We’re looking at a lot of different options, meeting with Goodyear to see where and when we could apply it and how that would affect the racing on the track,’’ O’Donnell said. “A lot of different options that we hope to have on the table, maybe not necessarily at the start of 2017.’’

A substance was used at Bristol Motor Speedway before the August races for the Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup Series. The Cup race saw 20 lead changes. Only one other Bristol event in the track’s last eight Cup races had more lead changes.

A substance was put on the high lane at Martinsville Speedway last weekend on the final day of a tire test there to unfavorable reviews.

Among the biggest complaints was that it made both the high lane and low lane nearly equal in lap times. Martin Truex Jr., who was among those who tested there.

“I felt like with the second groove being as fast as the first I don’t know how you would pass anyone,’’ Truex said. “The great racing at Martinsville is the fight for the bottom. If you can’t hold the bottom you’re going to get passed. In that case. I don’t believe Martinsville is a place we ought to mess with.’’

That Martinsville test was done looking ahead to 2017. Officials from the track and NASCAR told NBC Sports that the track’s surface would not be changed for the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series races there later this month.

Also during his appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, O’Donnell noted the type of racing in Sunday’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway despite the limited practice time.

Sprint Cup teams had one practice session Friday before rain canceled two practice sessions Saturday.

“One of the things we learned this weekend, which we’ll have to see, we’ll get some pushback from the garage, but it was nice to see teams almost just show up and have to race,’’ O’Donnell said. “We’re looking at how much practice is too much practice for an event. Maybe that is something we look at in the future as well.’’

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