It may be January, but the 2005 NASCAR season is already revving up, beginning with a Goodyear Tire test scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Rookie of the Year Kasey Kahne and Hendrick Motorsports superstar Jimmie Johnson will test the brand new Goodyear compound at NASCAR¿s fastest track next week as they prepare for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend. The test session will be closed to both the media and the public.
This week¿s test will be the first with the new Atlanta Goodyear tire, which is a different compound than any for any other speedway. Mark Keto, lead engineer for Goodyear¿s stock car tire development group, said the session will be used to gauge how well the new compound works with the 2005 NASCAR rule changes, such as the reduced spoiler height. NASCAR officials are expected to be on hand to analyze the results.
Johnson won eight races last season, including the Oct. 31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta, earned an amazing 20 top-5 finishes and dominated the series for most of the year. A string of poor finishes left him in second place in the final NEXTEL Cup standings, a mere eight points behind champion Kurt Busch.
Kahne came tantalizingly close to his first NEXTEL Cup win last season as a rookie, garnering five second-place finishes. He finished the season 11th in points and is now poised for a phenomenal sophomore season with his Evernham Racing crew.
Additional NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series teams are scheduled to test throughout February and March for the spring race weekend.
For more information on the Golden Corral 500 weekend, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.