Monday, January 19, 2015

Kenseth, Keselowski thankful for Las Vegas test

   Sprint Cup Series drivers Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and A.J. Allmendinger took part in a Goodyear tire test Monday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in preparation for the March 8 race this season.

   The test was the first on-track test drivers had of the new changes this season, including a reduction in horsepower and a modified aero package.

   With a new ban on private testing, Kenseth and Keselowski said any chance to test on the track is a welcome one.

   “I think any track time you get is really important with the new testing rules, banning all off-season testing, which I think we all like, but you’ve really got to take advantage of the tests when you get them and try to gather as much information as you can – hopefully useful information that you can use down the road,” Kenseth said.

   “For us, we didn’t run particularly well last year and we’ve got a new nose on the Camry this year and new rules changes and aero package and all that stuff, so we’re just trying to get it sorted out and try to find a baseline and hopefully find something that drives good so we’ve got something decent when we come back here."

     Keselowski, the defending winner of both the Cup and Xfinity series races at Las Vegas, agreed.

    “More so than the changes to the car, the testing ban makes every test you do have that much more critical because you have so much less,” Keselowski said. “In that light, a lot of what testing is isn’t always developing the car, but you’re developing your people, developing your techniques. We added two or three more people to our team so we’re trying to develop them and get them up to speed, so it’s really a great time for us as a team to have a test.”

    Paul Wolfe, Keselowski’s crew chief, said the lone test before the teams head to Daytona was a productive one but didn’t answer all of his questions.

   "It’s still hard to tell (how the changes will impact us). It’ll take some different style tracks and different style tires because that’s one of the big factors for us in how our car handles," Wolfe said. "There are certain tracks and tire combinations that favor us and that we run really well with and there are others where you could say we’re not as strong. It’s hard to say, just based off this one test, if we feel like we’re where we need to be.”

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