Charlotte Motor Speedway added traction compound to the upper grooves of the corners for Sunday’s race. That traction compound was not adding the grip it was supposed to during Friday’s practice.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the fastest driver in the first 10 minutes of practice. But then his car shot up the track off the exit of turn 4 and smashed into the wall. The impact was so hard that Earnhardt Jr.’s team had to pull out a backup car.
After his wreck, Junior openly wondered why the traction compound was on the track in the first place.
“If you can’t even run in it without plowing into the fence, what good is it?” he asked in his interview with NBC.
Caught the fence in practice. I feel ok. Backup car will be fine. The track sprayed “track grip” in upper grooves and it’s slick as oil.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) October 6, 2017
The traction compound was added for the All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 in the spring to help with multi-groove racing during those two events. But those two races are at night. Sunday’s race at Charlotte is during the day. And day races at Charlotte have naturally turned into affairs where drivers find multiple racing lines in the corners without the help of any artificial substances.
In his press conference Friday afternoon, Junior said he would recommend no reapplications of the sticky stuff until it was determined why the opposite of the desired effect was happening.
“Why the track was the way it was why you couldn’t touch it and why guys were having so much trouble with it, us included,” Junior said. “I would try to investigate a little bit before we go any further with that. I don’t think the weekend is lost. I think that we just need to hopefully with the other track activity and so forth that stuff will kind of get worked in and activated. I don’t know anything else that they can do. You can’t remove it really. They can go up there and pressure wash it and carry on, but it’s in there. It’s on the surface and it’s going to just take more track activity to get it off and I think work it in or whatever. We will have something raceable at some point in the weekend I’m sure.”
A similar incident happened with Kyle Busch later in the practice session as his car shot up the track at the exit of turn 4. Between Junior and Busch’s wall-smacks, Brad Keselowski went for a huge slide through the corner.
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