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Goodyear prepared for both new and current rules package at Michigan

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Goodyear prepared for both new and current rules package at Michigan
By:
Jul 19, 2016, 8:17 PM

Goodyear is planning ahead for whatever challenges NASCAR has in store for the tire manufacturer.

Race action
Goodyear tires
Race action
Goodyear Eagles
Goodyear
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Race action
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing

While no decision has been made regarding which aerodynamic setup the Sprint Cup Series will return to Michigan International Speedway next month with the 2017 prototype or the current 2016 low downforce package, the tire manufacturer will be prepared.

Ready for whatever direction NASCAR goes

“When we tested there to come up with the package that we ran at the first Michigan (June), we tested under both conditions — both downforce settings — with that same setup,” Stu Grant, Goodyear’s General Manager of Worldwide Racing, told Motorsport.com. “We had a lot of discussions with NASCAR, ‘So what are you guys going to do rules-wise, tire-wise and so on?’ It didn’t really matter to us. We were ok on both downforce settings with that setup. 

“So, whatever they choose, we have the tire for that. I know there’s discussion about going back there with lower downforce setting. Then there’s the school of thought, ‘Let’s get another data point and change it.’ I have not heard one way or another what the decision it, but we’re prepared both ways.”

Grant also discussed the demands of creating a tire for three different series at Kentucky Speedway earlier this month. Although Goodyear was able to react after blisters were discovered on all four of Kyle Busch’s Cup tires following the NASCAR open test, there was not adequate time to perform a tire test and return with a compound and construction specific to the newly paved and reconfigured track. 

While there was heat issues with some of the truck and Xfinity tires, that wasn’t the case in Cup. And Grant adds the Cup tires “weren’t as conservative as people might think.” 

Further development on Kentucky tire

Goodyear will work to develop a custom-designed tire for Kentucky Speedway before Cup teams return next July.

“For 2017, going into Kentucky on the Cup side, we will have a tire test in spring of ’17,” Grant told motorsport.com. “Think about it, we’ll have a summer on the new pavement. We’ll have one more Xfinity race, we’ll have a whole winter and then we’ll test in the spring on that little bit of aged pavement and determine a new recommendation for that Kentucky race in 2017.

“With these newly repaved facilities, they age pretty quickly at the beginning. I think with one year of aging and a little racing on it, I think we can change the tire recommendation to fit that aged surface a little bit better.”

As for last weekend’s contest at New Hampshire, where Goodyear tested with the low downforce package and subsequently introduced a softer right-side tire in an effort to gain more grip, the manufacturer heard from some competitors there was difficulty “putting the power down,” according to Grant. 

Smoke praises Goodyear's NHMS tire

However, Tony Stewart, who finished second on Sunday, was ecstatic with the tire selection. The three-time champion has been critical of Goodyear in the past, but credited the tires with giving him the necessary grip on the restarts.

“You’ve got two lanes of cars going into Turn 1 that are all fighting for one lane,” Stewart said. “As much as Kentucky last week we had tires that weren’t very easy to race on this is probably the best tire I think Goodyear has ever brought to Loudon. I mean you could run all over the race track during the day.  

“They are working hard at it and they are getting better, so just keep plugging away with those guys.”

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart
Author Lee Spencer