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Cup drivers test at new-look Phoenix

"It's obviously very smooth," agreed Gordon. "Just trying to find the grip took a while, to get the track cleaned off, get the rubber laid in. Once we did, started having fun and enjoyed making the laps out there.

"It's going to be a narrow groove the first couple times we're here and it's going to take time and guys are going to have to push that edge, keep cleaning it off as we go," continued Gordon. "We're not racing [here today,] we're not getting side-by-side with other cars. So naturally you're just going to see one groove built in there. It is a very narrow groove right now. I hopped outside of it on more than one occasion today, and it was exciting to say the least."

"I think by the time we race here, it might not be two grooves, but it'll at least be a lane and a half," Smith told reporters.

"It takes time for these newly paved tracks and that's why we are here testing," agreed Pemberton. "The teams are experimenting with a lot of different options and that's what they need to do."

"We have to get laps on the race track, rubber on the race track and get used to it," said David Reutimann. "I think the more laps we get on it, the better it'll be - but right now it's pretty scary!"

"You know, all I can say is that my impressions, the day started off really, really edgy and uncomfortable, an eye-opening wow experience of 'Oh my gosh, what's happened here?'" agreed Gordon. "As we got halfway through the day, the grip started coming ... Then I started having more fun, enjoying the laps I was making, the challenges the track had."

Phoenix International Raceway hosts the penultimate race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season on November 13, and the race here on this new surface could prove a massive wildcard in the outcome of the 2011 Chase.

Phoenix previously hosted a Goodyear tyre development test at the end of August for Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch, but this is the first time that the track has been open to the majority of the teams and drivers.

In addition to familiarising teams with the new surface and layout of Phoenix, the two-day test session is also intended to allow them to undertake the latest stage of development of next year's Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) cars, scheduled to be introduced into Sprint Cup competition from the first race of 2012 - the Daytona 500.

The first test of EFI on restrictor plate circuits is scheduled to take place at Talladega Superspeedway on October 20, three days ahead of the Good Sam Club 500 Cup race.




Related Pictures

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Mike Skinner, driving a Michael Waltrip Racing Electronic Fuel Injection NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, pulls onto pit road during a test on Tuesday at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. [Picture Credit: Norm Hall/Getty Images for NASCAR]
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers David Ragan and Joey Logano test the repaved and reconfigured Phoenix International Raceway on Tuesday in Avondale, Ariz. [Picture Credit: Norm Hall/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition, (R) and Dave Handy, NASCAR Tyre Engineer, walk the new backstretch at Phoenix International Raceway on Tuesday in Avondale, Ariz. [Picture Credit: Norm Hall/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position, Saturday June 27, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 26, 2015 in Sonoma, California. (Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 26, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #9 Jacob Companies Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 26, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 26, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet poses for photos after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 13, 2015 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 13, 2015 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 13, 2015 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Chevrolet SS, qualifies for sixth position, Friday, June 12, 2015, for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta `We Paint Winners` 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 7, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta `We Paint Winners` 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 7, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, affixes the winners decal to his car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta `We Paint Winners` 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 7, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta `We Paint Winners` 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 7, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, climbs into his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta `We Paint Winners` 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 6, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta/Penn State Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position, Friday, June 5, 2015, for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Gordon is ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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