DAYTONA BEACH , Fla. (May 5, 2009) – With the upcoming Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola on July 2-4 two months away, 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers participated in a two-day Goodyear tire test on Monday and Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway.
Among the drivers participating in the test includes Mark Martin, Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Speed, Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray and A.J. Allmendinger.
“When you get here, they let you get your stuff sorted out and get your car handling good and then they start throwing tires at you and getting your input on which one you think is best,” said Bowyer on Monday after the first day of testing. “We were able to get out there and draft a little bit and just try to get the speeds up as much as possible and go through the motions of the different tires and which we think is best.”
Having such a big group of drivers here for the two-day test on the 2.5-mile tri-oval has helped Goodyear engineers gather a significant amount of information.
“Just having three or four cars out there drafting, you don’t get the effect, you don’t get the sensation of the speed, what the cars go through in the draft, so we needed a few more cars here then just two or three cars out there drafting for a tire test,” said Bowyer, who drives for Richard Childress Racing. “The tire doesn’t get the abuse that it does when you are under the loads of drafting with 40 cars out there. I think they got a good amount of cars here, the right amount.”
Said McMurray, a 2007 Coke Zero 400 champion, after the first day of testing: “We did 15-lap runs, maybe we did 10 of them, different compounds, different construction. I think they are trying to eliminate heat in the tire and also get your feedback on how the car drives – better or worse.”
McMurray, who drives for Roush Fenway Racing, nipped Kyle Busch in the 2007 mid-summer classic by .005 seconds, the second closest finish in NASCAR history.
He says he frequently looks back on that triumph.
“Pretty much every day I think about that,” McMurray said. “It’s so cool to get to win at Daytona. Every kid growing up, if you want to make it in NASCAR, the Daytona race is what you think about.”
For Marcos Ambrose, this was his second Goodyear tire test and the Tasmania native was thrilled to get more laps around DIS.
“I’ve had a few laps around Daytona now, but you never get sick of driving around here,” Ambrose said on Monday. “The bumps, the car moving around, just the feel of the place is spectacular and it’s great to be down here running.
“We just done the simple stuff, single-car runs and a little bit of drafting this afternoon trying to get use to the way the car moves around here in the heat. It’s definitely different than what it’s here for the 500. The track is a lot slicker and there’s less grip to use. It’s fun and it’s a learning experience for me.”
Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola, including the 51st annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola and the Brumos Porsche 250 on Saturday, July 4 are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.