DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., February 13 -- Since 1985, Goodyear Engineered Products has supplied innovative power transmission belts to NASCAR, adapting subtle changes over the years based on information obtained from the racetrack.

The not-so-subtle changes found in the Goodyear Gatorback Poly-V belt, approved for use by NASCAR teams in 2002, powered more than half the Cup field and won half of the events during its rookie season.

During the 2003 campaign, 27 of the 36 Winston Cup races were won using the same straight-from-the-shelf Gatorback belts used by motorists driving to and from the track and sold at auto parts locations.

And this year, according to Mike Fine, Goodyear's manager of racing programs for its Engineered Products business, when the green flag drops to start the Daytona 500, the Gatorback Poly-V belt will be under the hoods of every major Nextel Cup racecar.

Fine said that conventional v-belts can no longer withstand increasingly tortuous race conditions. "Gatorback is more stable and reduces the risk of belt rollover," he said.

"Gatorback Poly-V belts are wider and thinner, yet lighter and stronger than traditional v-belts," he added.

The belt's helicog tooth design, resembling the back of an alligator, provides greater flexibility and more exposed surface, allowing the belt to run cooler and last longer. It also clears sand and other track debris that can damage belts during races.

Today, Goodyear Engineered Products is the exclusive NASCAR licensee of automotive aftermarket belts and hose -- including Goodyear automotive Gatorback Poly-V and v-belts, timing belts and curved hose.

-goodyear racing-