Encouraged by the results from a two-day Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company test session at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Greg Biffle expects old-time, side-by-side racing will be the rule of the day at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the March 8 Kobalt Tools 500.
Biffle, who was testing at the lightning fast 1.54-mile oval along with Juan Pablo Montoya, Sam Hornish Jr. and Scott Speed, believes Goodyear is in the process of developing a tyre for Atlanta's March race that will allow NASCAR's top drivers to race in any groove, just like “the old Atlanta.”
“I am extremely happy with the tyre that Goodyear has brought here to test,” said Biffle, who finished third in the points standings in the 2008 season. “They have a new left-side compound that puts a lot of driveability into the car.”
While March 2008's Kobalt Tools 500 was overshadowed by tyre concerns, Biffle believes the new tyre will allow Atlanta Motor Speedway to again be one of the most driveable, competitive, and thus entertaining, tracks on NASCAR's 2009 schedule.
“The old tyre [in March] lost grip running on the bottom after five to eight laps,” said Biffle, whose best time in the test was a lap of 29.64 seconds (187.045 mph) in a fully-logoed 3M #16. “But this tyre really hooks up to the bottom of the track for an extend run and you're not sliding all over the place. It's more like the old Atlanta that all of [the drivers] like.”
In addition to Biffle's strong endorsement of the tyres used in the Goodyear test, the often outspoken Juan Pablo Montoya also had praise for Goodyear.
“I think [Goodyear] has brought a lot of different tyre possibilities here and each one is different, but they are all improvements in different ways” said the veteran open-wheel driver who is entering his third full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. “It is encouraging that they are doing what they can to help us and it has been really good.
“What we are running right now is incredibly fast,” added Montoya. “When you get here in March with the heat, you will be sliding a lot more. We are just trying to find a tyre that is more predictable.”