The NASCAR Winston Cup Series held its test session Wednesday in preparation for Sunday's Ford 400 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Here Ford drivers - Jeff Burton, Ricky Rudd and Dale Jarrett, speak about their initial impressions of the new racing surface and the variable banking that now exists...

Jeff Burton - No. 99 CITGO Taurus:

"It's certainly a lot different than what it was. Time will tell whether it's better or not, but it's a lot faster there's no doubt about that. The potential is there to run a lot of different grooves, but it's fast. You may have some aero problems that you didn't have before because I think being behind other cars is gonna be harder. It's gonna be interesting to watch. It's a real smooth race track with a lot of grip. Turn one is radically different than turn three. You can't really carry as much speed into one. It's hard to get the car to turn over there, so there's something different about that corner. That's a lot different than any other corner we run on. Three and four is kind of a standard big race track kind of corner - a lot of speed, get in the throttle really quick and carry a lot of speed off the corner. If you carry too much speed getting into the corner you get yourself in trouble."

Dale Jarrett - No. 88 UPS Taurus:

"It's a definite improvement. There should be some interesting racing. It looks like there are two and possibly even three grooves out there. It's very fast right now, but it should be a lot better for racing."

What are your thoughts about the turns?

"Turn one is definitely different. As a matter of fact, I'm having a lot harder time on my entrance into turn one. Turn three seems to be pretty normal because you can get in and get back to the gas pretty quick. I find myself overdriving into turn one. It looks like you've got a lot more real estate there and I don't think you realise how much speed you're carrying. It's almost like the transition from the straightaway into the banking, there's not as much banking right there so you find yourself up the race track a little bit more. That's just something you have to learn and find out. There aren't a lot of markings out there to go by. There's nothing on the wall and nothing on the race track, so that makes it a little bit more difficult to be precise each and every lap."

So hash marks or something would help?

"Yeah, that would help a little bit. You've got the seems to go by, but we probably need some hash marks there or something to go by, and then if we could just get some lines on the wall to where you've got an idea where you're at, that would help a little bit."

Ricky Rudd - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus:

Was this money well spent?

"I think the fans will definitely see a better race. How good? We'll just have to wait and see on Sunday, but I think for sure I can guarantee two abreast racing and maybe even three."

Did you feel the track wasn't as competitive as before?

"I don't think the competitors really had a lot of say-so. NASCAR saw that the race wasn't to the level or the degree they're used to looking at and seeing as far as the show being put on for the fans. It wasn't as racy as it needed to be to keep people coming back, so they took it upon themselves to make some changes. They did consult drivers on some of their ideas and some of their ideas went into this race track with the compound banking and such. It's definitely a unique track. It's not one of the cookie-cutter tracks like a Kansas, Chicago or Vegas type of track. It's a track that's all by itself. I know for sure you can go in there two-wide because I've missed the corner several times. I've been in grooves that I didn't know existed and the car still stuck and could still run pretty good, so I think they accomplished what they were looking to is have a multiple groove race track."

The Busch drivers thought it would be good to have marks on the track.

"I would agree to that and second that. They need to put a bright white stripe around the bottom. Even if they just came around and put a couple of dots on the race track, at least until you get to the center of the corner, I think it would help you see a better race on Sunday."



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