Monster speeds at Michigan

DARLINGTON, SC - APRIL 11: Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M /Red Cross Ford, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on April 11, 2014 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
DARLINGTON, SC - APRIL 11: Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M /Red Cross Ford, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on April 11, 2014 in Darlington, South Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
DARLINGTON, SC – APRIL 11: Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M /Red Cross Ford, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on April 11, 2014 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

DARLINGTON, S.C.—During a two-day Goodyear tire test this week at Michigan International Speedway, Greg Biffle reported straightaway speeds of as much as 220 mph.

That’s about 7 mph faster than NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers ran during practice last year, but, surprisingly, Biffle said the increased pace didn’t affect the way he had to run the corners.

“It really didn’t, believe it or not,” Biffle told the NASCAR Wire Service before Friday’s opening Sprint Cup practice at Darlington Raceway. “It makes it a little more like a qualifying lap more than anything. The corner was about the same. Let’s keep in mind that it was 40-something degrees with a track temp of 66.

“So it was cold temperatures with high grip and they were testing tires that had more grip. They put a tire on the car that we’re not going to race that went that fast. So on the standard tire, I think the (speed) was down maybe three or four mph from that.”

Biffle expects Goodyear to bring more durable left-side tires to the recently repaved two-mile track.

“I’m not so worried about those end-of-the-straightaway speeds,” he said. “We slow down a bit in the corners—that’s the thing. When they get sustained that high, it makes it harder to pass and harder to race. Goodyear is trying to come up with a little more reliable tire, and I think they’ve done that.

“I’m thinking they are going with the dual zone tread possibly, or at least that is what they were leaning toward (for the right-side tires). We’ll see what they come up with after all the data. I think that’s a better tire, because it puts a little margin in the right front. They don’t want to blow a right front at that track.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.