Fast Speeds During Kansas Grand-Am Test
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Grand-Am drivers and teams got their first look at the new Kansas Speedway road course during the opening day of testing at the venue Saturday.
The overall feeling from those in attendance was extremely positive.
“I like it a lot,” said Roush Performance driver Shelby Blackstock. “The banking is really fast. You’re flying on the banks. This is going to an amazing venue for fans next year with the casino right here and a [Rolex Series] race at night.
“Just an awesome place.”
Saturday, a total of 12 teams from the Grand-Am Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge gathered for a total of six practice sessions, with crisp, cool weather (40s and 50s) aiding both engine performance and tire grip on the less-than-seasoned race surface.
The test continues Sunday with another six sessions, beginning at 9 a.m. (CT). Both series will compete at Kansas Speedway next season, on Aug. 16-17.
Ozz Negri topped Saturday’s Rolex Series speeds with a fast lap of 123.080 mph (1 minute, 9.321 seconds) in Michael Shank Racing’s No. 60 Ford/Riley DP, posted in the final session. Negri had the fastest DP lap in all three sessions.
“This is a pretty good indication of how it’s going to be [when we race],” Negri said. “We’re going for it. We’re not treating this like it’s only a test.
“The track is so smooth, and even though it’s green there was a tremendous amount of grip. This is definitely the quickest oval section of a course I’ve experienced in Grand-Am, even quicker than Daytona. It’s also probably the toughest braking zones we’ve seen. It’s all going to make for some very interesting racing.”
Blackstock posted the fastest lap in Saturday’s first Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge session, at 101.819 mph (1 minute, 23.796 seconds) in Roush Performance’s No. 61 Ford Mustang, a GS (Grand Sport) class entry. The fastest CTSCC lap of the day was posted by Billy Johnson, also in the No. 61, 104.339 mph (1:21.772) in the third session.