Teams concerned with tire wear at Indianapolis

Goodyear found itself in the middle of another controversy over its racing rubber on Saturday (July 26th) as several contenders for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard championship tossed concerned remarks at the maker following qualifying and ...

Goodyear found itself in the middle of another controversy over its racing rubber on Saturday (July 26th) as several contenders for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard championship tossed concerned remarks at the maker following qualifying and practice for the Sunday race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The issue surfaced with driver Mark Martin's complaints of excessive tire wear following afternoon practice and his second-place qualifying run earlier today. Martin noted his tires could achieve fewer than six or seven laps before the right front in particular began to show signs of excessive wear with 'cording' of the rubber on its wide flat surface's edges.

NASCAR late on Saturday announced that it was increasing the number of sets of tires allowed the teams for the race from nine to ten in a nod to the concerns expressed by the teams and drivers. The organizing body also plans to slow the 43-car field for a 'competition yellow' at fifteen laps on Sunday to examine the tires further in-race.

Goodyear officials admitted the new Car of Tomorrow, which is particularly prone to weight shifts away from the direction of the turn-in, and the lack of rubbered-in surface over the 2.5 mile oval contribute to its challenge in building a suitable tire for the competitors. The deed is further complicated by drivers' concerns about harder tire compounds causing undue handling problems than the softer compound their representatives (Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kurt Busch and Brian Vickers) chose after extensive testing in April of this year at the Speedway.

The durability of Goodyear's racing compound was an issue in the 2007 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard as well, with many teams noting severe wear on the right-sided tires that bear the most pressure on this left-turn-only Speedway whose surface was purposely diamond ground several years ago to increase grip for the IndyCar Series competitors participating in America's biggest race: the Indianapolis 500.

The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard isn't the first time the company has faced criticism in the current season for its competition tires.

Atlanta Motor Speedway was the site of the March 9th Kobalt Tools 500, the fourth race in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup campaign. The event was won by Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch in a solid one-two Toyota finish as teammate Tony Stewart drove home second in the race.

The buzz was all about Goodyear after the race, with the outspoken Stewart claming the rubber was inadequate to its racing task at Atlanta Speedway and sparking a maelstrom of controversy with his fiery remarks aimed squarely at the tire-maker. "Goodyear doesn't give a crap about tire quality," he fumed on-air after the nationally-televised event, prompting Dale Jr to apologize faintly for 'Smoke' by saying "I think maybe Tony went a little overboard."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Stewart , Kurt Busch , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing