Goodyear Brings Rain Tire

Goodyear brings rain tire to NASCAR John Crowley - NASCAR Online DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 13, 1998) The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company will introduce rain tires to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at Watkins Glen International this...

Goodyear brings rain tire to NASCAR

John Crowley - NASCAR Online

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 13, 1998)

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company will introduce rain tires to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at Watkins Glen International this year.

The move will allow events formerly postponed by bad weather to be completed and the series' busy 32-event calendar to proceed uninterrupted. It also represents a continuing advance of technology for the engineers that manufacture the famed racing Eagle.

"Rain delays at road courses will be history," said Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager of worldwide racing.

The announcement - which does not yet apply to the May race at Sears Point Raceway - culminated a development process that dated back to a test run made by Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt in August, 1995, during a rain delayed practice for The Bud at The Glen.

That was followed by testing on the half-mile oval at Martinsville Speedway by Terry Labonte, and then, most intensively, in Suzuka, Japan, for the NASCAR Thunder Special - Suzuka race in November of last year.

The tire company brought 400 rain tires for that race, which provided each team with about three-and-a-half sets. The drivers then conducted the entire two-hour morning practice in the rain on hard-carved rubber. The 1998 versions will be molded by machine.

"At Suzuka I was kind of looking forward to qualifying practicing in the rain," Martin said. "And the tire just did spectacular. That was the most fun part of the whole trip (to Japan) for me, was the practicing and qualifying in the rain. I had a ball.

"Of course, we ran well, too. That always makes it fun. But the tire works super, and the whole thing went off without a hitch. Japan is a long way to go to get rained out. I'd have to say that it saved the day, the rain tire. Goodyear's experience in rain racing, in other forms of racing, made it not so much of a challenge."

Mike Helton, NASCAR Winston Cup Series vice president for competition isn't concerned with the weatherman's predictions. Safety, a level playing surface and the comfort of the fans are some of the things that come into consideration in his officiating of an event. With that in mind, he and NASCAR Winston Cup Series director Gary Nelson have welcomed Goodyear's advances.

Helton indicated that unlike some other racing series, NASCAR will make the decision on when to use the rain tire. It will not be something that teams will choose individually.

"Ultimately it will be a NASCAR decision, if the track is wet or the track is dry. There is no gray area," he said. "Everybody will either be on the treaded tire, or everybody will be on the typical tire.

"We can't manipulate or change the schedule depending on wet weather. We are still a sunshine sport, and we want to stay that way."

Courtesy of NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Terry Labonte , Mike Helton , Mark Martin