Brooklyn, Mich. – Rochester Hills native Brad Keselowski was among several NASCAR drivers who took part in the Goodyear Tire Test Wednesday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway.
This is a busy time in NASCAR with Keselowski and the rest of the field competing last weekend at Richmond and getting ready to run this weekend at Talladega.
But the drivers still want to keep an eye on the future, knowing how their cars will handle with the tires when the series comes to MIS June 8-10.
Keselowski, the 34-year-old Sprint Cup champion in 2012, finished fourth in the series last season and sits fifth in his No. 2 Ford Fusion while driving for Roger Penske this year. He has five top-10 finishes in the first nine races with his last win coming in October at Talladega.
“We’re off to a decent start, don’t have a win yet, but looking forward to coming to Talladega to hopefully get back to Victory Lane like we did last fall there,” said Keselowski. “We’re just kind of solid, good, not great right now and that’s partially while we’re here today, try to go from good to great and learn a few things.
“Tire tests in general are a little bit monotonous, but it’s part of a process to really achieve two things: ensure that there’s a quality race here come June and August, and for the teams to try to leverage their engineering resources to bring back their best possible iteration of their cars possible.”
Chevrolet has brought in a new car, the Camaro ZL1, this season, replacing the SS that was used from 2013 to ’17, and Ford plans to bring in the Mustang for the ’19 season.
Austin Dillon, who drives for his grandfather, Richard Childress, won the Daytona 500 to start the season in the new Camaro.
Still, Dillon has had his share of trouble in later races. In eight Cup races since Daytona, Dillon has just one top-10 finish – a 10th at Fontana.
“It was definitely nice to get a win in that Daytona 500,” Dillon said. “We have been working hard on that Camaro ZL1; it’s not where we want it to be compared to the other manufacturers right now. So we’re putting in hard work. But the good thing is we got that win and that gives you some time to get your stuff together and get to where we need to be.
“We’ve actually done a pretty good job of execution as far as getting the best finish we can out of the car throughout the race, but we’ve lacked some speed to really start up front. We just keep working hard as a team and try to get everything we can out of every moment we have to make the car better.”
Dillon said his Daytona win was an “awesome moment.”
“It’s a game-changer,” said Dillon. “To win the Daytona 500, stand there in Victory Lane again, 20 years after I was a kid standing there with my grandfather (Childress), it was an awesome moment.”
Where they rank
Kyle Busch leads the standings in his No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, winning three races, including the last two at Bristol and Richmond.
Kevin Harvick sits fourth despite matching Busch for most wins (three) while driving his No. 4 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas.
Joey Logano, Keselowski’s teammate, is second in points despite being without a win, and Clint Boyer – Harvick’s teammate – is third with a win and six top-10 finishes.
Dillon is 14th with just two top-10 finishes, but that win in Daytona will more than likely lock up a spot once the playoffs for the championship comes into play in late summer.
Defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. (seventh, one win) was also at MIS Wednesday in his No. 78 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing.
“We had a good string of runs there and that California win was really big for our team,” he said. “Overall, performance-wise, I feel really good about where we’re at as a team and feel like we’re as strong as we were last year.”
NASCAR at MIS
FireKeepers Casino 400
When: 2 p.m., Sunday, June 10
Support races: ARCA Series, 5:30 p.m., Friday, June 8; NASCAR Xfinity Series LTi Printing 250, 1:30 p.m., Saturday, June 9
Consumers Energy 400
When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12
Support race: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Corrigan Oil 200, 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 11