Goodyear Racing hit century mark

Eight titles on a weekend is a special accomplishment, even for a company with a long tradition of winning like The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. But the results from the NHRA Matco Tools Spring Supernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway...

Eight titles on a weekend is a special accomplishment, even for a company with a long tradition of winning like The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. But the results from the NHRA Matco Tools Spring Supernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., brought lots of smiles to the faces of Goodyear's engineers and the honor of collecting 100 wins in NHRA competition in 2000.

The original Englishtown weekend was rained-out in May, forcing the postponement to September. The chilly weather, combined with an extremely grippy track surface, led to extreme temperatures in several Goodyear tires. Those conditions prompted Goodyear engineers to design and test several new concepts, leading to the new D1230 tire.

It would be natural to expect a little trepidation from Goodyear's drag racing engineers and production department when the newest Goodyear Racing Eagles took to the track this past weekend. However, the team knew the effort they put into creating the new Eagle Dragway Special D1230 tire for NHRA Winston Top Fuel and Funny Car competition.

But the tire proved its worth as Cory McClenathan set the top speed of the two-day meet at 320.13 mph, making it to the semifinals before losing to Gary Scelzi.

Doug Kalitta defeated Scelzi to take the Top Fuel honors, while Cruz Pedregon defeated John Force to claim the Winston Funny Car honors. Both wins came on Goodyear's standard D2807 tire.

"Obviously, Goodyear is extremely pleased by the performance of the new D1230 at Englishtown," said Perry Bell, Goodyear operations manager for drag racing. "The tire has been designed and tested for the extreme conditions we found earlier this year. Fortunately, the weather was warm all weekend and the NHRA and PRO officials did an excellent job of preparing the track, so we did not see a repeat of May."

The NHRA sanctioning body allowed the Top Fuel and Funny Car racers to use either the new D1230 or the D2807, leading every team bar McClenathan to choose the tire they were familiar with. "The hardest thing in racing is to convince someone that you have a better product, even when there is confirming data available," Bell said. "The tendency is to stay with the known rather than take a chance on the unknown.

"The D1230 performed admirably during McClenathan's three passes on Saturday, running 319, 319 and finally a 320, the fastest speed of the weekend," Bell added.

In the Winston Pro Stock category, Jeg Coughlin Jr. ran away with his eighth race title of the season and expanded his points lead to 381 over Kurt Johnson and Ron Krisher.

Goodyear also cleaned up in the Federal-Mogul Sportsman divisions, winning all but two titles. Dave Hirata won the Federal-Mogul Dragster class, Dave Northrup topped the Competition Eliminator category, John Gray prevailed in Stock, Raymond Skipper Jr. led the way in Super Comp and Bob Madden took top honors in Super Gas.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , John Force , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan