NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers conducted a two-day Goodyear Tire Test Tuesday and Wednesday, shaking down the new Generation-6 stock car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Unofficial lap times were not released, but several drivers reported finding greater speed on the 1.058-mile track in preparation for the New Hampshire 300 on July 14.
"The Gen-6 car has been a lot different everywhere we have gone," said Joey Logano, who landed his first Cup victory at the Loudon, N.H., track in 2009. "Obviously the camber, aerodynamics, it's a lighter car -- those three characteristics alone make for a big speed difference. The car is a lot faster and we were at qualifying speed all day today in race trim. Obviously cool weather goes with the fast speeds, but in general, the cars are booking around out there and they drive more like a Nationwide car. We have said that everywhere we have gone, but I was excited to say that here."
Increased speed has been a common denominator for the Gen-6 race car at a variety of tracks since its official on-track debut earlier this year at Daytona International Speedway. So far this season, the car has set track records in six of the nine Sprint Cup qualifying sessions (two were rained out), including last weekend at Darlington Raceway.
"There's better grip, a lower center of gravity and those are the key ingredients to speeding up these race cars," said Clint Bowyer, a two-time New Hampshire winner. "I came here with a totally different setup than last year -- even though we ran really well (in 2012) -- we had to completely start over from scratch. I love what the Gen-6 has done for our sport. It's delivering what we thought we hoped it would and creating much-needed excitement in our sport."
Another factor in the speed increase during the two-day test was cool, breezy weather with below-average temperatures in the low to mid-60s. While the conditions may not resemble what will likely greet the field when it arrives in mid-July in New Hampshire, four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon said he welcomed the chance to turn laps regardless of weather.
"It's always great to get on a track. If we could test at every track, we would," said Gordon, a three-time winner at Loudon. "I love this track; it has been good to the 24 team over the years. Any time you can get the opportunity to get some track time, plus get on a new tire if it does change, and a new car. So there's a lot of different variables that come into play this year, so a great opportunity to prepare to do laps in New Hampshire."
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