Kentucky Speedway’s advertising bills itself as the roughest track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Brian Vickers can attest to that claim. A broken wheel during a May 20-21 Goodyear tire test at the 1.5-mile track led to a hard wreck in turn three for Vickers. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver wasn’t seriously hurt in the accident, but he said Saturday night’s race is going to be all about negotiating the rough surface and surviving 400 miles of close, high-speed racing.
Vickers crew chief Billy Scott said the time his team spent at Kentucky Speedway should pay dividends in Saturday night’s race although he expects the hot setup in May will be different than what works Saturday night.
BRIAN VICKERS ON KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY: “It’s an extremely rough race track. I broke a wheel last time I was there so that tells you it’s pretty rough. I like tracks with some bumps and character, but Kentucky is really rough. I think it is time for a repave. On the straightaways your head is moving back and forth so much it gives you a headache. We did the Goodyear tire test there in May and we certainly learned a few things. But, this weekend it’s going to be a tough track for everyone.”
CREW CHIEF BILLY SCOTT ON AT-TRACK TESTING: “Nothing replaces going to the track and testing. All these NASCAR teams use tools like computer simulations that do a good job of helping us get an idea of what to expect once you arrive at the track. But, you don’t have real drivers or real tires. Nothing beats getting out there and running laps, getting data and hearing the feedback from the drivers.”
WOULD YOU TEST MORE? “In a perfect world—from just the setup standpoint—we would test every track we race. But considering time and money involved in doing that I’d prefer if none of us tested. That keeps it fair for the whole field and saves time and money.”
IS THERE A DOWNSIDE TO TESTING? “Not really other than time and cost. You have that chance to wreck a car and often times the tracks change by the time you go back. That even happens on the same weekend let alone when there are several weeks between testing and racing. You aren't going to race what you thought was best at the test, but you will be somewhere closer than if you hadn’t gone there at all.”