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What Even is PJ1 Traction Compound?

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What’s Happening?

This weekend at Bristol, fans may notice a black, sticky substance on the bottom of the race track at Bristol. This is known as PJ1, and it is used to encourage drivers to seek out multiple grooves on the race track. What exactly is PJ1, and why does NASCAR use it?

  • PJ1 first made its appearance in NASCAR at Bristol in 2016. Since then, plenty of different race tracks have implemented PJ1, including Bristol this weekend.
  • However, PJ1 has also had some unintended consequences. As a result, PJ1 is disliked by a few fans and drivers.
  • Fans are split on the use of PJ1. While it does add multiple grooves at certain race tracks, it also negatively impacts other aspects of the track.

How Does PJ1 Work?

PJ1 is actually not the name of the product, but the name of the company that makes the product. The product is officially called, “PJ1 TrackBite Traction Compound”. The compound was originally used on drag racing tracks to give dragsters more grip at the starting line.

The compound is a sticky resin that is black in color. Its sticky nature, especially when heated, causes tires to grip heavily. The compound is also quite durable, as it sticks to the track for months and even years afterward.

How PJ1 Was Discovered by NASCAR

NASCAR tracks rarely used any kind of traction compound, but, in 2016, it made its first appearance at the Night Race at Bristol. The idea was to bring back the bottom groove at Bristol, and it generally worked. Drivers were able to use the bottom groove, and Bristol still uses it.

Soon afterward, other race tracks began to use it, such as Texas, New Hampshire, and Pocono amongst others. The result was multi-groove racing on tracks that often struggled to build in that second groove. New Hampshire is perhaps the most prominent example aside from Bristol.

However, traction compounds have had some negative effects as well. The compound was stained in the upper lanes at Texas Motor Speedway, which provided the opposite effect for IndyCar races and did not help NASCAR races. IndyCar left Texas Motor Speedway before the 2024 season, but, the traction compound began to wear off by then.

Overall, the traction compound will likely be in use this weekend, and it’s a part of modern NASCAR. Even if it has not always had positive effects.

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