Martin Tops Pocono Test Speeds
June 6, 2012 | 8:47 P.M. EST
Martin's Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota was one of 22 cars that broke the existing track record during Wednesday's test of the new track surface at Pocono Raceway. (Photo: Getty Images)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams opened a two-day test of Pocono Raceway's newly paved surface Wednesday, with 22 drivers surpassing Kasey Kahne's official track record.
Mark Martin led the way with a fast lap of 175.380 miles per hour in his No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, nearly three mph faster than Kahne's record lap of 172.533 mph set in 2004.
"I give them high marks," Martin said in reference to the repaving around the 2.5-mile triangle-shaped track. "It's not as tricky as most newly paved racetracks, especially with this kind of speed."
Martin also had the third-highest 10-lap average of the day at 172.646 mph behind Ryan Newman and AJ Allmendinger.
"The groove is extremely narrow," Martin continued. "The good thing is when you get out of it, it isn't like ice. That bodes well for the groove gaining width as we start putting more cars out and racing more on it."
Allmendinger had the second-fastest single lap of Tuesday's session at 175.029 mph. Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Kahne completed the top five. Sprint Cup Series points leader Greg Biffle was sixth, Newman 17th.
"Goodyear's done an excellent job of matching the tire to the new surface," said NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby. "Basically all the way up and down through the garage, we've heard zero complaints."
The open test will wrap up Thursday, with cars back on the track at 9 a.m. (EDT). The official practice/qualifying schedule at Pocono will begin Friday afternoon as preparations continue for Sunday's Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR.