NASCAR: Eye popping speeds at Goodyear test at Michigan International Speedway

Eye-popping speeds were posted on Wednesday at the two-mile Michigan International at a Goodyear Tire test.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. this year’s (and two-time) Daytona 500 winner scorched the track traveling in excess of 215mph in a Chevrolet. The fastest official lap recorded in the premier stock car series was 212.809mph in 1987 at Talladega Motor Speedway. Because this was a test the laps were not official for purposes of setting a speed record.

After Bobby Allison’s car went flying into the catch fence at Talladega, in 1987 the sanctioning body adopted carburetor restrictor plates, in 1988, which reduced horsepower down to 450 hp robbing 300-400hp from the engines. The goal was to keep speeds under 200mph at the longest tracks at Daytona and Talladega.

Earnhardt Jr said he was hitting speeds between 212-215 mph on the straightaways and about 180 mph in the turns.

“This is one of our better tracks, and our fans will probably say the same,” said Earnhardt, who has won twice at Michigan. “I enjoy racing here. It’s a fun track. The asphalt is really aging well and it’s just going to keep getting better and better over the next couple of years.”

NASCAR Dale Earnhardt Jr

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Photo: NASCAR)

Earnhardt, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Trevor Bayne are taking part in the second of a two-day Goodyear Tire test at the 2-mile track.

Bowyer was even faster than Earnhardt reaching 217mph at times. “That’s white-of-your-eyes-fast,” he said.

Newman and Biffle agreed, adding the winter has aged the track, making the super-smooth surface less oily, and creating additional grooves.

“I think (Michigan) will be a good race; I really do,” Biffle said.

Speedway President Roger Curtis certainly did not object to the speeds but said passing and fierce competition is what makes great racing.

“The drivers are posting 200 mph. That’s awesome. The fans get very, very excited about that. But at the end of the day, on Sunday when the green flag drops, the numbers ‘two zero zero’ (200mph) they’re not anywhere in the fans’ minds. It’s lead changes, it’s the competition.”

Previously, NASCAR officials said that they are looking at ways to reduce speeds in 2015. Although no rules changes have been announces it’s likely that there will be smaller displacement than the current 5.8 liter engines.

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