BROOKLYN, Mich. – Before race weekend at Michigan International Speedway, the tire dragon did yeoman work for roughly eight days, dragging tires around the two-mile oval in an attempt to widen the racing groove.
A hard rain shower hit the track on Friday morning, but according to driver Joey Logano, that won’t negate the efforts to “rubber-in” the racing surface.
“On weekends when it rains it doesn’t really wash away as much rubber as we really think it does,” said Joey Logano, a two-time winner at Michigan. “It will definitely wash some rubber off, but it gets laid down pretty quick. For whatever reason, maybe all the little small holes in the race track get filled up or they are already filled up, and the rain washes it away and the rubber fills them up the next time. Kansas is a good example of that.
“I know track temperature effects things more than anything as far as widening out. The hotter it is, the more rubber will get laid down, cars make mistakes and get up by the wall and lay down rubber and the groove gets wider.”
Logano didn’t get a chance to see what kind of effect the tire dragging might have had during Friday’s first practice because he was concentrating on mock qualifying runs.
“When you’re in qualifying trim, you aren’t really moving around the race track,” he said. “You’re going to go to the lane that you know is the fastest groove. Now, watching the ARCA race and XFINITY race here will help that as well and seeing how much wider it is going to get. This place usually gets to three lanes.”
And three lanes typically make for entertaining racing, giving drivers options to find the fastest way around the track for their particular setups.