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Tony Stewart, after the Indy tire test, says he likes what he sees....if the track just doesn't change between now and the Brickyard 400

NASCAR's Robin Pemberton (R) and Goodyear's Greg Stucker (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   POCONO, Pa.
   NASCAR's Robin Pemberton says this week's two-day tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a big success, and he says he's smiling about the upcoming Brickyard 400.
   "And when was the last time you saw me smiling when talking about Indianapolis and tires," Pemberton quipped.
    "We've been up there six times (to test tires, since last summer's problem-plagued 400), and Goodyear has done a phenomenal job…and my hat is off to the teams.
    "They've taken a lot of time because they're been looking at every scenario to get everything right in the compound and design for both the left-sides and right-sides. Everything seems to be working, and the drivers seem to be happy.
   "Tire wear was great. Probably 115 to 120 percent of what you need. And the driveability was there.
   "It's really nice to see everything come together.
   "I'm looking forward to going back to Indy, I really am, because it's going to be a phenomenal race…and anybody who doesn't go to that race is going to miss out on something special."
    Tony Stewart, one of the men in this week's test, said it's hard to measure how much of a positive factor in the Indy test was the fact that the track was well rubbered in with tire wear from the Indianapolis 500:   "I can't tell you what's going to happen when we go back, but we did run a full fuel run on a set of tires, and I was pleasantly surprised.  
   "Tire wear was great. There was cording early in the run, but it wasn't long before we could run 25 to 30 laps on a set.
     "If conditions stay like they are now…if we had to race this weekend, I am confident we could have a good race."
   A dozen teams will hold a major test at Indy next week, in final preparation for the July 26th 400.
   Goodyear says this week's testing covered 1,200 laps. The nine drivers were Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Patrick Carpentier, Bill Elliott,
Robby Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya, Stewart and David Stremme.
    Goodyear said "Throughout the test several cars were able to make runs of more than 30 laps (75 miles). A fuel stop at the 2-1/2-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway is estimated at 32 laps."
   Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director of race tire sales, said "We are very pleased with the results of this test.
   "The weather cooperated and gave us two days of hot, sunny conditions, just like we expect to see in late July.  We were able to put rubber down on the track very quickly, and completed several full-fuel runs, with tire wear, temperatures, and appearance all looking good. 
    "We believe we're in good shape for our final confirmation test on June 15-16."
    Drivers in that test are Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman,
David Reutimann, Reed Sorenson, Brian Vickers, and Michael Waltrip.


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