Tony Stewart completes final tire test of career at Indy
Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola wrapped up a two-day Goodyear tire test on Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the Brickyard 400 on July 24.
Stewart, who will start Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway but will have Ty Dillon take over as a precaution, indicated this was his final Sprint Cup Series test of his career.
“This is my last tire test as a driver,” Stewart said. “It’s nice to be home and any time we’ve ever had an opportunity to go test here I always jumped on it. I don’t like to go test. It’s boring to me, but I’ve always liked any chance I got to come up to Indy and test. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
The Indy test also gave Stewart a chance to feel out the low-downforce rules package.
“I haven’t driven with this low-downforce package, other than just Richmond last weekend, which you aren’t going to really see a big affect of it,” Stewart added. “But being here and seeing how much different it feels, it’s fun to kind of get acclimated again and that’s the big thing I wanted to leave here with — feeling like I was up to speed with what the aero package was and knowing what it feels like.”
Edwards, fresh off his win at Richmond International Raceway and gunning for 3 consecutive wins this weekend, knows Indy is a tough place to figure out.
“There’s a lot of stuff to learn here,” said Edwards. “This track is difficult for a number of reasons. When the sun comes it, the track changes. As the Goodyear rubber lays down, it changes. The challenge for us is as we make these changes with the car to try to separate the track changes and the temperature changes from the actual changes with the car.”
Rookie Chase Elliott finished a respectable 18th in last year’s Brickyard 400. Besides the handling being quite different, he says teams really won’t have a true indication of what the racing will be like until July.
“Last year, we had the big time spoiler change — the big spoiler on the back and the high drag to try to draft,” said Elliott. “So that was a little different than having the three-inch spoiler on it and having something real small with much less downforce. It’s hard to say until you come back and get a bunch of cars on the race track at the same time.”
Elliott also noted just how sensitive the 2.5-mile track is to the weather.
“It’s hard to fine tune because you come back in here July and it’s going to be so hot,” Elliott said. “This place is very temperature sensitive, so it makes for a big change.”