By Jim Pedley, NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Two NASCAR Sprint Cup practices are in the books at Kansas Speedway and the tires which Goodyear brought in for Saturday's 5-Hour Energy 400 are getting thumbs up from the competitors.
That's good news for NASCAR, the speedway, Goodyear and competitors after some uneven results last fall at Kansas.
"Whatever they (Goodyear) are doing, is working," Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards said Friday.
Said Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman: "I think they (Goodyear) have, at least at this point, made a good decision on the tire they brought."
Edwards said he was not sure about the wear of the tires. He just didn't check into it with his team.
But Newman said: "I think our longest run was 10 laps. Based on our tire wear, everything looks really good."
Last fall, many of the problems which surfaced occurred to the right side rubber on the 3,400-pound Cup cars.
Goodyear returned to Kansas with new tires for that side of the cars this weekend. The left-side tires are the same as last fall's.
Also being discussed in the wake of the two practices, which were led by rookie Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing and three-time series champion Tony Stewart, were the speeds the cars were logging.
Nineteen drivers topped the 190 mph mark in the second practice.
"I will say this, that is the fastest I have ever gone through the corner here," Edwards said. "It is extremely fast."
Newman agreed, saying: "I think it's the fastest we've ever been here; at least it feels like it to me here at this race track."
JOHNSON REVISITS TALLADEGA INCIDENT
Jimmie Johnson must have a very big bucket sitting around somewhere at the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, N.C. Either that or the bucket doesn't have a bottom in it.
Johnson, a six-time Sprint Cup champion who has yet to win a race this season and does not have a Chase berth locked up, was asked several times Friday about the wreck he was involved in with Brad Keselowski a week ago at Talladega.
Was he angry about being wrecked? And by a driver six laps down? And on a day he had a very good car? Would he consider retaliation?
Johnson just shrugged.
"It's plate racing and you just throw it in the plate (racing) bucket and move on," Johnson said.
Does Keselowski, the Team Penske Ford driver whose aggression on a race track is well documented, need a talking to?
Again, Johnson said: "I personally think that what happened in Talladega just falls into that restrictor-plate bucket that we just kind of overlook a lot of things that take place at plate tracks."
With Johnson, who has 66 career Sprint Cup victories, moving to race No. 11 on the 2014 schedule this weekend at Kansas still looking for that first victory, an increasingly familiar question was put to him on Friday: Is he starting to get concerned?
"Until we are not locked in, I mean there is nothing to worry about," Johnson said. "Where we sit in points right now, we are locked in. Of course we want to win; we want to win every race we go to. We have been in the ballpark and have been very close to victory a couple of times and it got away.
"Yes, there have been some poor performances. We are trying to raise that. I don't think that we are where we want to be as a team right now, but we have had a few looks at wins and I know we will get a few more. We just need to capitalize on that. If not, points still matter. There is a bigger window to make the Chase today than there was last year. Last year was 12, this year it's 16. I don't think there is anything to stress out about yet."