After earning high marks Sunday in its first race since being resurfaced, Pocono Raceway gives way to yet another newly paved race trackthis week. Michigan International Speedway is the site of Sunday's Quicken Loans 400, and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon said he expects another competitive first outing.
"I am not a big fan of repaves,” said Gordon after taking part in a Goodyear tire test at MIS in April. “So the fact that I am talking positive about it -- and still enjoying the racetrack as much as I always have -- is a sign that I think they did a great job. Whatever it is about this track, it has always had a great feel to it.
"Instead of having to go in and 'recreate' (the feel) like some tracks have had to do, they were able to pave over the top of what they had -- and fix whatever they could -- to keep it lasting as long as possible."
In 38 starts at the Irish Hills track, Gordon has two wins (1998 and 2001), five poles, 18 Top-5 and 24 Top-10s. But the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will need to find the groove(s) quickly on the newly paved track if he is to battle for victory.
"It's a very fast track, but a very comfortable-feeling pace," said Gordon. "The cars drove well and they stuck to the race track. The track drives so similar to the way it did before and I believe it's going to have multiple grooves. We just need it to widen out a little bit, and that is only going to come with laps."
Gordon also said any previous similarities between Auto Club Speedway and its sister track at MIS are now in appearance only.
"They are both two-mile tracks, but there are not a lot of similarities now between the two," said Gordon. "I don't think because you ran well at California, (it) translates to running well (at Michigan). But I am really looking forward to the race this weekend because we tested here and it went well, and because we've had strong performances recently.
"Now we just need a strong finish."
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