This weekend, Jeff Gordon may not think he is in Kansas any more.
Following the April event at Kansas Speedway, the 1.5-mile track was repaved and reconfigured with the corners now featuring variable banking up to 20 degrees. Two-time and inaugural Kansas Speedway winner Gordon does not know what to expect ahead of Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400.
"This is a trip to the 'unknown,'" said the driver of the No. 24 DuPont "20 Years" Chevrolet. "I'll get my first look at the changes on Wednesday, so I really don't know what to expect until then."
While he has not seen the track, crew chief Alan Gustafson has seen the data from the newly reconfigured circuit.
"The 88 (Hendrick Motorsports) team participated in the tire test, so we have data from them," said Gustafson. "We've been able to run simulations using that data in preparation for the test.
"But Wednesday's test with Jeff's feedback will tell us so much more.
"It's a two-stage process. We'll try to work on some developmental setups to gain grip and speed. If - and when - we find some grip, we will then focus on balancing the car out in that configuration."
In 13 starts at Kansas, Gordon has two wins (2001 and 2002), eight top-fives and nine top-10's. But those performances occurred on a surface that is no more.
"I liked the old surface, but I'm sure there were reasons - whether it was the foundation or the construction - the track needed a repave," said Gordon, who is ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. "Whatever they put in front of us, we'll just do our best as a team to adapt to it and make the car as fast as possible on the new surface."