Skip to content

New tires bear watching this weekend at Kansas

Oct 4, 2013, 10:00 PM EST

Advocare 500 - Practice Getty Images

On Thursday at Kansas Speedway, Sprint Cup teams got to test Goodyear’s second version of its “zone tread” tires that debuted back on Labor Day weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The session went off without any problems, but one driver was notable in his disdain for the new tires – Chase for the Sprint Cup leader Matt Kenseth, who won at Kansas back in the spring and holds an eight-point advantage over Jimmie Johnson going into Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.

“I would have rather left everything alone for us, especially after today,” Kenseth said on Thursday. “Today was a struggle. I was glad we got the extra practice and of course tomorrow is a new day and we’ve got a lot of stuff to look at it, but today was kind of a struggle.

“Whenever anything is working good for you, you kind of like to leave everything the same. But, yeah, when you come back, it’s the same for everybody and you’ve just got to figure it out.”

Kenseth wound up qualifying a respectable seventh this afternoon for Sunday’s main event, but still felt that he and his team hadn’t, in his words, “made a lot of progress” following the Thursday tire test.

He and the rest of the Cup drivers will get two more practice sessions tomorrow at Kansas to continue working on their cars, but the fact that Kenseth seems to be having difficulty with the zone tires could mean an opportunity this weekend for Johnson, Kyle Busch (third in standings, 12 points behind Kenseth) and the rest of his rivals.

They’ll all take it, considering how dominant Kenseth has been on these intermediate tracks this season; four of his seven wins in 2013 have come on 1.5-mile ovals such as Kansas.

It’ll be interesting to see if his team can find the proper adjustments to better deal with these tires. Because if they can’t, a new Chase leader could emerge by Sunday night.

Latest Posts
  1. Petter Solberg leads after Day 1 of World RX finale in Argentina

    Nov 28, 2014, 7:16 PM EST

    FIAWRXChamp

    Red Bull GRC champs Olsbergs MSE has their drivers second and fourth in the standings so far.

  2. WATCH: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET

    Nov 28, 2014, 4:45 PM EST

    nascar america

    Put down your shopping bags, heat up some Thanksgiving leftovers, and tune in for a Black Friday edition of NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN.

  3. WEC: Porsche continues to lead the way in Sao Paulo Practice 2

    Nov 28, 2014, 4:31 PM EST

    AUTO-FRA-MOTOR-RACING-ENDURANCE Getty Images

    Mark Webber fastest in second practice for WEC at Interlagos.

  4. WEC: Brendon Hartley leads Porsche 1-2 in Sao Paulo opening practice

    Nov 28, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    The Goodwood Festival of Speed - Day 2 Getty Images

    Porsche 919 Hybrids run 1-2 in the first session at Interlagos.

  5. WEC draws the curtain on 2014 with Brazilian round this weekend

    Nov 28, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    BahrainWECstart Getty Images

    The end of the WEC season occurs this weekend in Brazil.

  6. F1 2014 Review: Stories of the Season

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:45 PM EST

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    We take a look back at some of the biggest stories in Formula 1 this year.

  7. USAC: Christopher Bell wins Turkey Night Grand Prix; Kyle Larson finishes 3rd

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    logo-usac

    Rico Abreu locks up USAC Honda Midget Series title with fifth-place finish in Thanksgiving classic.

  8. F1 2014 Driver Review: Fernando Alonso

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Alonso proved once again in 2014 that he has ability exceeding that of the Ferrari car, but even he couldn’t make up for the shortcomings of the F14 T.

  9. Toro Rosso confirms Carlos Sainz Jr. for 2015 F1 season

    Nov 28, 2014, 12:11 PM EST

    F1 Testing In Abu Dhabi - Day One Getty Images

    Spanish driver to race alongside Max Verstappen in 2015, stepping up to make his F1 debut.

  10. F1 2014 Driver Review: Sebastian Vettel

    Nov 28, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Practice Getty Images

    Red Bull may have been underdogs after winter testing, but few could have predicted Sebastian Vettel’s bid for a fifth world title being as weak as it was.

  11. F1 2014 Driver Review: Valtteri Bottas

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany Getty Images

    After a difficult rookie season, Bottas’ sophomore year in F1 brought far more success, marking the Finn as a possible champion in the future.

  12. Ricciardo expecting good battle with Kvyat next year

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ENG-SILVERSTONE Getty Images

    Kvyat will replace Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next year.

  13. Hulkenberg’s Porsche drive a great showcase for modern versatility

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    HulkPorsche2 Getty Images

    Nico Hulkenberg and Porsche: a win for both the WEC and F1 in a rare moment of motorsport unity for the common good.

  14. F1 2014 Driver Review: Daniel Ricciardo

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    What a year it was for Daniel Ricciardo in his first season at Red Bull.

  15. Hamilton: Second F1 title takes career another step forward

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRITAIN-HAMILTON Getty Images

    Talks about a new contract with Mercedes should be brought forwards after title win.

  16. F1 2014 Driver Review: Nico Rosberg

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Austria F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    A worthy title contender, Nico Rosberg enjoyed his most successful season to date in 2014.

  17. F1 2014 Driver Review: Lewis Hamilton

    Nov 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    2014 saw the Briton become a two-time F1 world champion, winning 11 races.

  18. Raikkonen confident 2015 will hold better things for Ferrari

    Nov 28, 2014, 7:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Practice Getty Images

    A new regime will come into force at Maranello next season following a disappointing campaign in 2014.

  19. Susie Wolff promoted to test driver at Williams for 2015

    Nov 28, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Practice Getty Images

    British racer will remain with Williams for 2015 after becoming the first woman to take part in a grand prix weekend session in 22 years over the summer.

  20. Famed NHRA team owner Don Schumacher undergoes cancer surgery

    Nov 27, 2014, 8:46 PM EST

    Don Schumacher and daughter Megan. (Photo courtesy ShoeRacing.com) Don Schumacher and daughter Megan. (Photo courtesy ShoeRacing.com)

    NHRA team owner Don Schumacher underwent surgery Wednesday for early-stage skin cancer.

Video from NASCAR America

Kevin Harvick's well deserved Sprint Cup
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (1723)
  2. J. McMurray (1701)
  3. T. Stewart (1656)
  4. A. Dillon (1156)
  5. J. Johnson (1068)