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NASCAR won’t use traction compound at Pocono Raceway


during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 3, 2018 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.

Jared C. Tilton

NASCAR will not use any traction compound this weekend at Pocono Raceway despite a plea from Denny Hamlin to do so.

PJ1 traction compound was applied to the lower and a higher groove in all four corners at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The traction compound was applied on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights for the next day’s events.

The intent was to create other lanes for competitors to run to create closer racing.

Hamlin politicked last weekend at New Hampshire for the traction compound to be used this weekend.

“I’d like to openly petition (that) we need PJ1 at the top of Turn 3 Pocono,” Hamlin said. “When we had that new fresh asphalt up there, it completely changed the racing at Pocono, and I really believe that it could do wonders for that race track.

“It’s been such a single-file race track ever since the repave (before the 2012 season). There’s a handful of tracks (where it) really could help the racing and so putting it in the high side of (Turn) 1, the high side of 3 at Pocono would be a fantastic idea.”

Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, explained Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” why the traction compound won’t be used at Pocono Raceway.

“Turn 3 at Pocono was one of the places where it was going to be applied,” Miller said of a proposal. “That’s a third-gear corner for the competitors. Little bit difficult to kind of anticipate what the gearing change might be. We don’t want to change anything up for the competitors. Obviously we’re going very fast down the front straightaway at Pocono. Elevating the speed in Turn 3 only makes that more.

“There’s a lot of factors that go into (using a traction compound). We kind of look at its potential at a lot of places. We know where it works and we’re getting more and more scientific with the application and understanding what we’re doing and it may or may not expand to other places. But until we’re ready and we fully understand what we’re doing, we’ll be a little bit slow getting it to other places.

“The last thing we want to do is to make a race weekend potentially have a story around the VHT not working. We’re cautiously moving forward with it.”

Pocono isn’t the only track Hamlin says could use the traction compound.

“I know that Texas, it’s a big challenge because we run fast there anyways, but that track is so wide,” Hamlin said. “I mean, just put a strip way up there where you never think we’ll go and eventually someone will go up there and they’ll keep testing it and next thing you know, we’re going to have two-wide racing.

“You know, these tracks that are really one-lane based, it could really do wonders and I like – really like the direction that the tracks and NASCAR have gone on it applying it and they’ve done a good job of being more consistent with where they put it from year to year.”

Hamlin also said he would be for using the traction compound at Indianapolis Motor Speedway but knows there would be challenges with getting that approved.

“I guess it will work at Indy, but certainly would love to see it tried,” Hamlin said. “I mean Indy is a great candidate. Now are you going to get people from Indy to buy – to take the risk with their surface, you know? They’re a little finicky about that kind of stuff.”