The ongoing and stunning refresh of North Wilkesboro Speedway from the stock-car ashes added another chapter this week, debuting fresh asphalt for the first time in more than 40 years. Thankfully, Cup Series drivers reported that the pavement kept some of the character that made the historic 0.625-mile track distinct.

William Byron, Ty Gibbs and Joey Logano put a variety of Goodyear tire compounds and constructions to the test Wednesday in the first of two days of Cup Series sessions ahead of the NASCAR All-Star Race on May 19. Wednesday‘s sunny session came after a single day of Goodyear testing held Tuesday for the Craftsman Truck Series.

The early reviews were generally favorable from the Cup Series trio, who noted how drastic the change was from last year‘s All-Star Race, held on an abrasive asphalt surface that was last installed in 1981. That surface was patched and prepped to withstand nearly a week of racing last May, with the plan all along to start anew in the fall.

Logano said that the thicker-gauge tire used during last weekend‘s Cup Series race at Phoenix served as the control tire. A run earlier in the day produced a one-second falloff after a 25-lap stint, “which I thought was really good,” Logano added, saying that the control had the most wear. “That‘s probably the direction that the majority is pushing, I think at this point. We‘ll probably make some verification longer runs tomorrow, but so far everything seems like it‘s going as planned.”

No lap times were provided since the test fell under Goodyear‘s jurisdiction, but Logano noted “we were hauling ass” with the speed he found in the new pavement. Byron laughed and seconded the sensation, saying: “It seemed like ‘mash throttle, mash brake.‘ “

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