AKRON, Ohio (Sept. 12, 2001) -- Racecars are in a constant state of development, especially in the high-tech world of the National Hot Rod Association's Federal Mogul Funny Car class, with its 260-mph quarter-milers. The teams involved never stop...
AKRON, Ohio (Sept. 12, 2001) -- Racecars are in a constant state of development, especially in the high-tech world of the National Hot Rod Association's Federal Mogul Funny Car class, with its 260-mph quarter-milers. The teams involved never stop looking for ways to beat each other.
Tires play a key role, evolving to handle demands placed on them.
Early this year, when Goodyear started along the path toward building what is now the D-1022 drive tire for drag racers, the tiremaker needed a driver with a great deal of knowledge to help with the development process.
Goodyear contacted Vern Moats, a veteran of 38 years of racing and 14-time NHRA Division champion. He has 15 NHRA National event victories, among them a 1983 US Nationals title.
"As we continued to make new development tires, we sent them to Vern Moats and another driver in the Federal Mogul Funny Car division, Bob Newberry, for use in both private testing and in competition," said Perry Bell, Goodyear operations manager, drag racing. "We knew what we wanted to do -- make a lighter tire -- and through their feedback, we were able to focus on the direction we felt was the best way to go."
Moats, a native of Iowa, has always owned the cars he raced. He is among the most respected competitors in the garage area and, when the NHRA conducted a balloting to determine the 50 best drivers in its history, Moats received votes.
Moats started using Goodyear's D-1490 tire, which he said worked well because of its sturdiness. The D-1022 retains the good qualities of its predecessor, while cutting weight.
"This tire still has the stability of the older D-1490s and the Top Fuel tire," Moats said. "It's got a stiffer sidewall on it."
And Moats knows the D-1022 can help make a car go fast. His 5.63-second, 253 mph pass at Joliet, Ill., early this season remains the second-fastest pass of the year.
Moats races a 2000 Pontiac Firebird, built Bob Massey and tuned by Rob Wendland. Kendall Oil has been the team's long-time sponsor.
Moats said communication between himself and Newberry has been an important factor in the development of the D-1022.
"Newberry and I can work stuff out together to really give Goodyear good information," Moats said. "A lot of times, maybe I don't have the clutch right or the motor quite right. I don't want to lead them astray on stuff that we might see. I talk with Newberry. We talk back and forth about pressure and rubber and what we think the life of them is."
On-track performance of the new tires is proof the effort paid off in the performance category so important to the teams.