DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Dale Earnhardt Jr. says the track at the Daytona International Speedway is ``real smooth'' after the completion of a $20 million repaving project.
Earnhardt was the first driver on the track Wednesday as 20 cars participated in the first day of a two-day Goodyear tire test at the speedway, which underwent a massive facelift beginning July 5 in a move precipitated by a pothole between Turns 1 and 2 during the Daytona 500.
``They smoothed out all the bumps,'' Earnhardt said. ``The track is real smooth. It's got a lot of grip. It reminds me exactly of what Talledega was like when they finished (repaving) it.''
Clear skies, cool temperatures and a smooth surface greeted some of the top drivers in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series at the first tire testing session at since the completion of the repaving project. By late morning, several hundred onlookers were seated in one of the grandstands and standing near a retaining fence to check out the new surface, as well as the drivers in action.
Most of the testing consisted of single-car laps, although there were moments when cars were bunched closer together.
Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon came away convinced that the 2 1/2-mile track, which was most recently paved over in 1978, would become more about speed and less about handling to the drivers.
``That's going to make for more exciting racing, more aggressive racing,'' said Gordon, who added that aggression would manifest itself in another way. ``You'll be able to see us race three-wide here, lap after lap after lap.''
The only incident of the day came when David Ragan sustained damage to the front quarter-panel of his Ford after losing control through the tri-oval. Testing will continue Thursday morning.

Recent NASCAR Discussions

Advance Auto Parts Clash Betting News and Notes on Sun, Feb 2017 by Michael Cash
2017 NASCAR Changes on Wed, Feb 2017 by Michael Cash
Can-Am 500 Betting News and Notes on Sun, Nov 2016 by Blade
AAA Texas 500 Betting News and Notes on Thu, Nov 2016 by Blade

NASCAR Odds

Driver Odds
Odds to Win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup 2017 Championship
Kevin Harvick #4 +650
Jimmie Johnson #48 +700
Martin Truex, Jr. #78 +850
Joey Logano #22 +850
Kyle Busch #18 +850

Nascar Top Stories

Thumbnail Earnhardt Jr. Favored in Daytona 500 Despite missing the better part of the 2016 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the early favorite to win the 2017...
Thumbnail Daytona 500 Odds We are about a month away from the 2017 Daytona 500. Here is an early look at the odds to win the race.
Advertisement