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Watch This: Goodyear Tire Testing at North Wilkesboro Speedway

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Nick Brand

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Six NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Cup Series Teams Testing Tire Compounds on Tuesday, March 20th, and Wednesday, March 21st for the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race Weekend

What’s Happening?

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers, Zane Smith (#38 Ford), Corey Heim (#11 Toyota), and Carson Hocevar (#42 Chevy) took to the 0.625 mile North Wilkesboro Speedway yesterday for the tire test in preparation for the upcoming Tyson 250 on Saturday, May 20th, 2023. 

The Cup Series teams of Chris Buescher (#17 Ford), Tyler Reddick (#45 Toyota), and Austin Dillon (#3 Chevy) will take to the short track today to determine the compound that will be used for the All-Star Race on Sunday, May 21st. 

You need to know: 

  • All three manufacturers are represented in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series by Front Row Motorsports (Ford F-150), Tricon Garage (Toyota Tundra), and Niece Motorsports (Chevy Silverado). 
  • All three manufacturers are represented in the NASCAR Cup Series by RFK Racing (Ford Mustang), 23XI Racing (Toyota Camry TRD), and Richard Childress Racing (Chevy Camaro ZL1). 
  • This is the first time that NASCAR has held an official event of any capacity at the North Wilkesboro Speedway since its elimination from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule in 1997.

The Main Characters

Zane Smith: No. 38 Front Row Motorsports F-150

It’s going to be a cool event, it’s so crazy to see this place come back to life,” said Smith, driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford. “It’s the perfect place for a throwback race. The infield is beautiful and it’s surrounded by a track with so much history. We are trying to figure out our truck and trying to see where we can be better and what adjustments we can make to it.”

Smith says the unique North Wilkesboro layout, with a downhill frontstretch and uphill backstretch presents a unique challenge.

“I hope we can move around some come race time,” Smith continued. “If you miss the bottom in one and two you are going to pay for it in a big way. We put a lot of focus on handling today. It will be fun trying something new for one weekend.”

He says the buildup for this race throughout the NASCAR industry and sports world has been epic.

“You hear about this track every day in the shop and all of the legends of our sport talk about it and this is a place you always hear about,” Smith said. “The last few years you kept hearing rumors about this place possibly coming back and I think every racer loves short tracks. It was great to see Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. and others help make this place a reality.”

Carson Hocevar: No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevy Silverado

Hocevar said when he walked into the property he was in awe the whole time he was here.

“Rarely do you have a test where you are smiling the whole time you are out there going around the track,” said Hocevar, driver of the No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevy. “It was a lot of fun to be out there today slipping and sliding around on this historic track. It sounds silly, but this is our ‘Field of Dreams.’ I’m not a baseball fan, but it was super cool to see that. This is just like that, this is our deal. Everyone has high expectations and hopefully we meet it. It felt like I was walking into a track where we weren’t supposed to be. I’m just really glad that NASCAR, Dale Jr. and the CARS Tour kept picking at it. I wanna be the one that goes up that ramp over there (iconic infield Victory Lane on rooftop of Media Center). That is the coolest Victory Lane ever. If I do, I’m not leaving, I will watch the Cup race from there.”

Corey Heim: No. 1 1 Tricon Garage Toyota Tundra

Heim, who had raced Late Models here in the past, said he felt like his team learned quite a bit during the session.

“I feel like we learned a lot and went through a lot of progressions like we normally do for short tracks,” said Heim, driver of the No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota. “I feel like this track has a lot more grip than what some people said it had. When we come back in the summer when it will be a lot warmer it should be interesting. It’s really cool and a historic moment for NASCAR and racing in general. To see what NASCAR brings this summer is going to be really exciting. This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

In the Stands

Tim Tobin liked this…

Me too Jeremy…me too.

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Nick Brand

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