The NASCAR season is just a left turn away as 16 of the sport's best got back behind the wheel Wednesday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
When race fans hear the phrase "tire testing." It may not seem that important, but drivers said the information gathered during a tire testing session can be the difference between an early exit to the garages and a reserved spot in victory lane.
“The newness feeling that you’re working through; it’s exciting you’re back at the track. You’re going 200 miles an hour,” NASCAR driver and Las Vegas local, Kurt Busch said.
“Little nervous because you’re trying to knock the rust off, I think I can still do this then you get on the track for the first time and it’s like, I’m back,” NASCAR driver, Ty Dillon said.
“You always have those jitters; 'Did I forget how to drive?' You get back in like 'Oh yeah, knock a little rust off, ready to go,'” NASCAR driver, Brad Keselowski said.
For some drivers like Kyle Larson said these tire test sessions are crucial to have before the season.
“I get a lot out of it, especially being the first test of the year, getting familiar with the car and just getting laps,” NASCAR driver Kyle Larson said.
Others said "not so much."
“We put a little stock into it, but not all the stock into it,” Keselowski said.
“(We learn) things we need to do to it, what it likes and doesn’t like,” Dillon said.
“Tire wear, engine temp.; we’re working on pit road speed,” Busch said.
“Can we find things that make a difference in our race car and tune those? And maybe (we can) have a better understanding when we come back to this track or one of similar nature,” Keselowski said.
All agreed being there this week can only help them this season, now that the Las Vegas Motor Speedway has not one, but two race weekends.
"Now that we got two races here, it seems to justify us coming here and putting a little extra effort into this one,” Keselowski said.
“I think the fanbase we have out in Las Vegas, the people we attract are some of the best of all the race tracks. So to have a second race here and to kickoff The Chase, I think it’s going to be really cool,” Dillon said.
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