Tires are a major concern this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Goodyear had a tire test and noticed some blistering happening within the tires, which resulted in the tire compound to be changed last minute. Goodyear has asked teams to scuff their tires. Because of this last minute change, NASCAR has given teams in all three series an extra set of tires.
For the Sprint Cup Series, the left side tires are the same ones used at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The right side tires are a single tread version of the tires used at Michigan. Cup teams have six sets for practice and qualifying. Teams were given six sets of tires for practice and qualifying and 11 sets for the race.
For the Xfinity Series, the right side tires feature the multi-zone tread, similar to what was used at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. The left side tire used this weekend at Michigan is the same as the Sprint Cup. 10 sets of tires were given.
For the Camping World Truck Series, the left side tires are the same as Cup and Xfinity. The right side tires are the same as Xfinity. Teams were given 8 sets for the whole event.
Goodyear is awaiting teams to have long runs to see how the tires are holding up.
Carl Edwards in his media availability stated, “For us, we scuffed a bunch of tires. While we’re doing that, I’m looking at the little nuances of the track, where are the bumps, the grip level, exactly where is the speed. This track is difficult. Determining how you’re going to balance the car to be aggressive and how loose you need to be here or there, it’s kind of hard to figure it out, but that’s what I was working on.”
Daniel Suarez will start from the pole in tonight’s Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Brett Moffit will start second, followed by, William Byron Daniel Hemrick, and Tyler Reddick rounds out the top-5. Suarez now holds the new track record with a speed of 182.983 mph, and clinched his first pole in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the first pole of the season for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
The first round of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying was led by William Byron with a speed of 183.020, followed by Brett Muffin (182.568 mph), Parker Kligerman (), Daniel Suarez, and Daniel Hemric. All cars will make the tonight’s Buckle Up In Your Truck 225. Some notable drivers who did not advance were Johnny Sauter (15), John Hunter Nemechek (16), and Ben Kennedy (18th).
The second round of qualifying went off without a hitch. William Byron, who had the pole in the first round, ended up in the third position. Parker Kligerman, who qualified in the third position in the first round of qualifying, placed sixth in the final round. Kyle Busch, who is pulling triple-duty this weekend, qualified seventh in the second round after qualifying sixth in the first round.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will race tonight beginning at 8:30 pm eastern on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.
Since the last time the NASCAR circuit was at Kentucky Speedway, changes have been made. These changes were necessary for the facility that was incepted in 2000.
Despite the traffic concerns that ensued on their inaugural race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Kentucky had more issues within the racing surface. Drainage issues and a rough track surface were the culprit for a new Kentucky Speedway.
When Kentucky announced they were going to repave the track, they also announced that they will reconfigure the track as well during the repave.
What did the repave and reconfiguration project include?
29,700 feet of draining pipe will be included in the subsurface draining system. An addition of 3200 feet of SAFER Barrier was added, in addition to the 2500 feet installed in 2015. SAFER Barriers cover 11,300 feet of the wall, resulting in nearly all the walls being covered by SAFER. The apron of turns one and two and the pit exit drive line were widened from 14 feet to 30 feet. The track was narrowed in turns one and two from 74 feet to 56 feet. The banking was increased from 14 to 17 degrees. Over 17,000 tons of asphalt was poured over the entire 1.5-mile facility.
Work began on Kentucky Speedway with the removal of the SAFER Barriers in January. Once SAFER was removed, work on the drainage system occurred. At the end of April, the repave began and was completed in May.
Surveying, track design, and layout was done by Line and Grade. Grading, excavating, under drain, and soil stabilizing was done by Baker’s Construction Services. Ohio Valley Asphalt provided the mix for paving. SAFER Barriers were provided by Southern Bleacher and Seal Pro.
A standard racing asphalt mix was used to pave the track with a minor tweak for surface wear. A curing process was used to help age the track to be “seasoned” by this weekend.
Changes to the pit lane were made because the exit was narrow making traffic merges nearly impossible. This allowed for a shorter racing groove and steeper banking in the turns. The first and second turns are considered more difficult than three and four.
"I am excited about the finished product as we wanted to present a unique challenge to the drivers," project manager Steve Swift said, vice president of operations and development for parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc. "This design, with Turns 1 and 2 completely different than 3 and 4 accomplishes that goal. The big winner will be the race fan."
Earlier today, it was announced that Parker Kligerman will replace John Wes Townley this weekend at Kentucky. Townley was also slated to race this weekend at Iowa Speedway in the ARCA 150. Cole Custer will substitute for Townley.
Townley is undergoing treatment. The team has not released the cause of the concussion.
According to Parker Kligerman’s Twitter account, he received a call Tuesday morning at 7:30 am that slated him to be racing this weekend at Kentucky.
According to an Instagram post, Kligerman stated, “Wishing @johsnwestownley (John Wes Townley) a speedy recovery. It is not under these circumstances that make me happy as much as I am grateful for the opportunity and hope to do a good job for the whole @getjive 05 team.”
Townley hopes to return to competition at Eldora Speedway on July 20th.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series hustles into the newly repaved and reconfigured 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway for the sixth annual Buckle up in Your Truck 225. 32 drivers are entered for 32 spots in the Thursday Night Special, a 225 mile and 150 lap shootout.
This is the tenth race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2016. There have been 18 races held at the Kentucky Speedway for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. 15 different drivers have won a pole at Kentucky Speedway. Ryan Blaney, who set on the pole in 2013, was the youngest pole winner, and Ron Hornaday Jr., who won the pole in 2009, is the oldest pole winner. 14 drivers have mastered Kentucky Speedway through a win. Ty Dillon is the youngest winner and Ron Hornaday Jr. is the oldest. Three races have been won from the pole with the last one by Matt Crafton in 2015. Mike Bliss set the race record in 2002 with a speed of 143.515 mph. Austin Dillon holds the qualifying record set in 2011 with a speed of 179.868 mph.
John Wes Townley, who was scheduled to race Thursday night, has been replaced with Parker Kligerman due to a possible concussion. Townley is currently under treatment.
Drivers to watch include Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, John Hunter Nemechek, Tyler Roddick, and Johnny Sauter
Drivers are excited about the chance to race at Kentucky Speedway.
Matt Crafton talks about racing at Kentucky. “Kentucky Speedway and I have had a love-hate relationship in the past, to be quite honest. It’s been really good to us at times, and really bad for us too. Junior (Joiner, crew chief) and all the guys worked really hard, brought back a completely different setup last year and we were finally able to get the monkey off our backs and get a win. With the track repave this year it will be an entirely new animal. Turns 1 and 2 will have more of a progressive banking, which means more speed down the backstretch and be completely different than Turns 3 and 4 that didn’t undergo any changes. It sounds like the biggest change will be the racing groove – it’s pretty wide coming out of Turn 4 onto the straightaway and then narrows up getting into Turn 1 because they increased the width of pit road exit. We get three practice sessions on Wednesday to test out the new surface and get accustom to the track, so it will be interesting to see how the truck handles and changes as the trucks lay down rubber.”
Kyle Busch explains how he believes Kentucky will race after the repave. “It will be just like any other race on a repave -- there are going to be a lot of unknowns and a lot of different variables. With the reconfiguration of the track – the paving, banking, angle changing in (turns) one and two versus three and four – you basically have a whole new race track. I think it’s going to be a benefit running all three races this weekend so I can learn to understand the nuisances of the new configuration and learn how to pass on a single-groove race track.”
Despite being one of the top drivers at Kentucky, Johnny Sauter talks about racing at Kentucky. "Kentucky is definitely not one of my best tracks. With that said, there's no reason we can't turn that around. We've had a great season so far and I feel like the No. 21 team has really grown over the last few races. I'm looking forward to seeing how the track races with the new surface. I think it will add a lot of speed and certainly change the way you would normally prepare for Kentucky."
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will have three practice sessions on Wednesday. Qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will begin 5 pm eastern on Fox Sports 2, and the race will begin at 8:30 pm on Fox Sports 1. Motor Racing Network has the call starting at 8 pm eastern,Thursday night.