* Cold and wet weather conspired to rain out the Matco Tools Spring Supernationals during its original May weekend, but Goodyear engineers have been productive while waiting for the make-up date. The weather and the incredible grip produced by...
* Cold and wet weather conspired to rain out the Matco Tools Spring Supernationals during its original May weekend, but Goodyear engineers have been productive while waiting for the make-up date. The weather and the incredible grip produced by the Englishtown quarter-mile created a situation where there was too much traction at the top end of the strip. Normally the tires would begin to lose traction, or slip, in this area of the track. At Englishtown, however, the tremendous grip level of the track surface, when combined with the high horsepower ambient conditions, resulted in elevated temperatures in the Winston Top Fuel and Winston Funny Car tread rubber. The elevated tread rubber temperatures resulted in a reversion or breakdown of the rubber composition, which resulted in the tread chunking.
"We've never faced this type of conditions downtrack," said Graham Light, NHRA Senior Vice President-Racing Operations, in May. "In my mind it's not a problem with the tires. They are the same tire that has gone 330 mph, and it's certainly not a 'bad batch' of tires because Goodyear has brought different batches to the track."
Goodyear engineers examined the tires following the weekend and went to work producing a new tire that could withstand the unique traction conditions of the Englishtown track. The result is the Goodyear Eagle Dragway Special D1230, produced at Goodyear's Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. The tread compound of the new D1230 tire has been formulated to provide properties that will reduce or resist the breakdown of the tread rubber composition at elevated tread rubber temperatures. In other words, the new tread compound has been designed to operate at higher temperatures without chunking or blistering.
Development tires were produced and tested by various teams. Tony Pedregon and Cory McClenathan tested the final preproduction samples. Pedregon ran an ET of 5.08 seconds with a speed of 279.61 mph at Seattle. McClenathan recorded a 4.704-second pass at 316.45 mph on the new tire, then made a 4.707 / 315.01 mph run with the D2807 tires on his next pass.
"Cory McClenathan's times showed that there is no difference in performance between the new D1230 and the established D2807 that has been the standard of the 2000 season," added Bell. "That was exactly what Goodyear and the NHRA wanted with this new tire."
* The NHRA racers were able to make two qualification runs in May, setting the elimination pairings for this weekend's competition. Larry Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel with a 4.644-second/311.70 mph pass. Jim Epler was quickest in Funny Car at 4.947/308.14 mph and Jeg Coughlin Jr. leads the Pro Stock contingent with a 6.822-second/200.68 mph run.
* Goodyear recorded five wins at the U.S. Nationals last weekend, bringing its season total to 92, the best of all tire manufacturers. The company will supply 320 tires to the Winston Pro competitors for this two-day event and a smaller number of tires for the Sportsman competitors.
* DID YOU KNOW?: It takes just 15/100ths of a second for all 5,500 horsepower of an NHRA Top Fuel dragster engine to reach the rear wheels.
* Catch up on all the latest information from Goodyear Racing on our revised website, www.racegoodyear.com. The site covers NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Grand National and Craftsman Truck series; NHRA and IHRA drag racing, Pennzoil World of Outlaws, major sports car competition and numerous weekly short track stock car programs in the United States and Canada.