Crashes At Charlotte

A test session turned into another day of crashes at Lowe's Motor Speedway as a number of NEXTEL Cup drivers had troubles with the track's new racing surface.

LMS track president Humpy Wheeler used a grinding process called "levigating" around the 1.-5 mile superspeedway's turns earlier this year in an effort to smooth the surface. But the plan backfired.

Rather than make for better racing, the process contributed to a NASCAR-record 22 cautions during the Coca-Cola 600 last May. The track then "levigated" the rest of the surface, but judging by Tuesday's test session it hasn't improved the situation.

"I don't remember any of the drivers asking for changes," said Tony Stewart after crashing during Tuesday's test. "You've got to give Humpy credit for trying to make the track better. He actually made it worse instead."

Boris Said and Mike Bliss also made contact with the wall during the test.

"It's pretty messed up," said Mark Martin, who didn't have any trouble during the session. "This is the world's greatest race track and it was awesome the way it was. Did you see the race last time? The race in May was an indication of what we are going to have this time."

Wheeler defended the track and the improvements.

The track temperature was probably over 135 today," he said. "A lot of guys got out at 3 o'clock and there was no rubber on the track. There's a lot of pressure on these guys and they are taking these things to the edge - right to the edge of the cliff, and every once in a while you will go off the cliff."

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2005, Tony Stewart

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