Sprint Cup drivers face a lot of unknowns at Phoenix, not the least of which are the new Gen-6 cars and a new Goodyear tire featuring compound changes on both sides of the car designed to provide more grip.
As far as Jeff Gordon is concerned, the changes are positive.
"I was very pleased with everything I felt out there," Gordon said. "I thought the tire and the track conditions were not as edgy and unpredictable as what we've seen in the past here, which tells me that the pavement is aging, which is a good thing.
"The tire...luckily Goodyear came and did some testing here and found that now we've lost a little grip in this track, and now we can soften this tire up and maybe we can have some falloff over a longer run. So, everything I think has come together pretty nicely."
Goodyear based its tire choice on a test last Oct. 23-24, with seven Cup drivers participating: Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard, Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards.