Printed on: May 01, 2013

NASCAR drivers hit 214 mph during tire test at Indianapolis


Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- NASCAR had the perfect combination for the start of Tuesday's tire test in Indianapolis.

Cool track, new tires, long straightaways and cars with grip.

It doesn't get any better than that, and they aren't likely go much faster than this, either. After Mark Martin wrote on Twitter that he had hit 212 mph in the backstretch during the morning session, a disbelieving Jeff Gordon walked over to his team to see what it had recorded.

"They said 214 and I said, 'My gosh, it really is fast,'" Gordon said.

To put the speeds in perspective, Denny Hamlin won last year's Brickyard 400 pole with a fast lap of 182.293 mph. Gordon said all the cars Tuesday were faster.

The incredibly quick speeds didn't last long when the temperatures warmed up and tires started wearing faster. And while nobody expects the cars to go anywhere close to these speeds in late July, everybody was encouraged by the early performance of the new Gen-6 cars on one of America's most historic, and tricky tracks.

"Like so many other tracks, this car adapts well, it sticks really well to the track," said Gordon, who has won all four of his Cup titles with Hendrick Motorsports. "I'm pretty happy today."

That's good news for a series that hasn't always had the smoothest races on Indy's 2.5-mile oval.

Tire wear had been an issue for years before the 2008 race turned into a caution-marred debacle of short sprints. Since then, Goodyear has come out with tire compounds that have worked better at Indy.

Point men

The NASCAR Sprint Cup leaders through Saturday's race:

1, Jimmie Johnson 343

2, Carl Edwards 300

3, Kasey Kahne 297

4, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 297

5, Clint Bowyer 290

6, Brad Keselowski 284

7, Kyle Busch 278

8, Greg Biffle 272

9, Kevin Harvick 271

10, Paul Menard 271