GOODYEAR ROLE KEY IN HISTORY-MAKING NASCAR EVENT When the teams of the NASCAR Grand National Division's West Series and Busch East Series met in the middle of the country for two races, they competed on tracks that were new to most of...
GOODYEAR ROLE KEY IN HISTORY-MAKING NASCAR EVENT
When the teams of the NASCAR Grand National Division's West Series and Busch East Series met in the middle of the country for two races, they competed on tracks that were new to most of them.
But they were familiar with their tires and that fact was important. Goodyear, the exclusive tire provider for the Grand National Division, supplied the teams with the normal short track package for the first race at Elko Speedway in Elko, Minnesota and another package for the event at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
"Both were good, exciting races," said Chad Fletcher, Goodyear operations manager. "Our tires performed well, which we expected."
Sean Caisse made a great restart work and he won the Minnesota 150 at Elko. Caisse stamped his name on the event by winning both the pole and the race. Joey Logano won a last gasp shootout against the best in the business and captured victory in the Featherlite Coaches 200 at Iowa Speedway.
"We were wheeling it," Logano said of the final laps at Iowa. "There was plenty of grip. We ran the heck out of those tires."
The Elko race came down to a restart with two laps remaining. Caisse got off to a better start on the 3/8-mile oval and pulled away as the race for second place got serious. Caisse's margin of victory over runner-up Bryon Chew was just .305 of a second. Mike David, Rogelio Lopez and Mike Olsen rounded out the top five finishers.
"The tires held up great," Caisse said in the Winner's Circle. "If we'd have had another 50 laps, if this had been a 200-lapper, the tires would have held up fine."
Two days later, in Iowa, Logano beat NASCAR Nextel Series star Kevin Harvick as the pair charged around the 7/8-mile oval. Harvick was less than 24 hours removed from winning the Nextel All-Star Challenge. Logano will celebrate his 17th birthday later in May and called the victory the biggest of his career.
Harvick, a former champion of the West Series, finished second at Iowa. He was followed by Jesus Hernandez, Johnny Borneman and Mike Duncan.
The track at Elko is a venerable facility with a rich history. The track in Iowa is less than a year old. The tire performance was strong at both.
"The packages that we brought worked well with the racing surface at Iowa Speedway and at Elko," Fletcher said. "The tire performance was excellent. On the big track in Iowa, the leader turned a lap less than a second slower than the pole speed on lap 198, when his tires had about half a race on them."
Caisse and Logano earned automatic berths in the end-of-the-season Toyota All-Star Showdown event at Irwindale Speedway in October. Goodyear will supply the same tire combination for the All-Star Showdown that the tiremaker brought to Elko.