WHOA, NELLIE! 200 MILES PER HOUR, AT DARLINGTON?
DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 13, 2008) – What a difference a paving makes: 200 miles per hour.
That’s how fast the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars ran during Goodyear tire tests earlier this week at historic Darlington Raceway.
That’s not a miss-print.
The Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon, the Ford of Greg Biffle and the Dodge of Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman were all clocked unofficially at 200 mph at the end of this old track’s smooth, newly re-paved backstretch.
Who would have believed stock cars would ever top 200 mph at NASCAR’s original superspeedway?
Darlington Raceway President Chris Browning almost couldn’t believe it himself.
“We had some of the telemetry numbers from the teams and I couldn’t believe it when they told me they were hitting 200 mph at the end of the backstretch,” said Browning. “That’s incredible!”
Jeff Gordon, a seven-time winner on the tricky, treacherous, 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval, said the track was fast and smooth.
“The old humps and bumps are gone,” said Gordon. “It’s still Darlington. It’s just a lot smoother and a lot faster.”
Goodyear’s test featured three of Darlington’s hardest chargers, Gordon, Greg Biffle, a two-time winner and Ryan Newman, a former pole winner at NASCAR’s toughest track.
Newman, in fact, took to Darlington like a duck takes to water when he first drove around the track in 2001. He still calls it his favorite track, even though he is still looking for his first Darlington win. He has led many times at NASCAR’s most historic track but has yet to capture a win. He has finished in the top five in four of the last five races.
Gordon is always a favorite at Darlington. He also knows first-hand how tough this track is on everything: driver, engine, tires, brakes, everything.
“I will say this, our cars in general, you know you take a heavy stock car, put it on a high-banked, mile-and-a-half or two-mile oval...a 3,400 pound car...it’s the toughest race car in the world to build tires for,” said Gordon.
“I think Goodyear does an excellent job with providing us with the best tires they can. It’s not an easy job they have, and this particular car (NASCAR’s new chassis) is even tougher on tires.
“I think it’s something we all have to come together on. It’s a group effort. We’re here trying to help them, from our side, build the best tire they can.
“So far, everything I’ve seen here has been good.”
Gordon is edging closer to Darlington’s all-time win record, held by native South Carolinian David Pearson, who won 10 Sprint Cup races at the track.
“This is going to be one of those races fans don’t want to miss,” said Browning. “It certainly looks like it’s going to be the fastest and I’m sure it’s going to be one of the most competitive races in the track’s history.”
Don’t miss your chance to see another incredible finish at Darlington Raceway when the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series take on the track “Too Tough to Tame” in the Dodge Challenger 500 on May 10, 2008. The racing action kicks off with the NASCAR Nationwide Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200 on May 9th. Order your tickets now by calling 1-866-459-RACE or logging onto http://www.racetickets.com.
For more information contact: Jake Harris, Darlington Raceway Public Relations, 843-395-8823