NASCAR says Bristol treatment to track is ‘not the last you’ve seen of that’
Kevin Harvick says that what Bristol Motor Speedway did to its track surface to create two lanes of racing should be done at other tracks.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that what Bristol did is “certainly not the last you’ve seen of that.’’
Bristol treated its lower groove with a substance similar to what is used on the starting area in drag racing to help tires gain grip. NASCAR said resin was then put on the track after Wednesday’s Camping World Truck Series race and Friday’s Xfinity Series race.
Previously, running the lower groove at Bristol proved slower than the top groove. With the additional grip, more cars could run at the bottom and be competitive.
The result was two-wide racing. The 20 lead changes in the Sprint Cup race ranked second among most lead changes at Bristol in the last eight races there. NASCAR stated that total green-flag passes in the Cup race totaled 2,454, ranking fourth at the track since the statistic was first kept in 2005.
“The effort and the step outside of the box that we saw this week at Bristol was big because this isn’t something that NASCAR would normally be OK with,’’ Harvick said after his win in Sunday night’s rain-delayed race. “They don’t want to go in and change the racetrack coming into race morning and say “Hey guys we just put 18 inches of resin on the bottom and good luck.’’
Harvick knows what track he’d like to see treated next.
“Martinsville would probably be the best example,’’ he said. “It’s been really, really hard to race at Martinsville over the past couple of years. I think this particular style of procedures … really works well on the concrete style of racetracks. You’ve got Bristol, you’ve got Martinsville and you’ve got Dover. I think the asphalt-type racetracks, I think this has opened everybody’s eyes to say, ‘All right we need to do something to the surface to get these guys a little more grip and multiple grooves so they can look around and do things differently and pass each and get back to doing what NASCAR racing is all about.’ ‘’
When that will happen will be determined by NASCAR.
“We’ll go out and do the due diligence and test it and work with Goodyear certainly,’’ O’Donnell said. “Certainly, we’ll look at this year, but more importantly for 2017.’’