The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had a very exciting race at Richmond International Speedway. Nothing like Saturday Night Racing under the lights to ramp up the excitement, drama, and racing.
In the past few weeks some of the driver and teams have had problems with tires. At California it was left side tires and at the other tracks it was right side tires. This week at Richmond International Raceway the problem was right front tires.
To make the problem worse, or better yet more spectacular, the right front tires in this race were a dual compound. This type of tires has a harder inside edge to make it more durable. These dual zone tires, as they are called by Goodyear, are intended to make the racing better. Goodyear certainly accomplished that.
The only problem, one which could not be anticipated, is that after about 54 laps the inside “Endurance” zone of the tire gave up spectacularly on some of the cars. To make matters worse when it did give up it would wrap around the brake rotor and lines and catch fire.
Make no mistake about it, it is easy to point a finger Goodyear’s way when cars are aflame and say that isn’t good but that isn’t necessarily the correct answer. Watching the coverage on TV, the close-ups of each tire on fire clearly showed those cars had a large amount of camber in the right front tire.
Tire camber is the angle of the tire to flat pavement. If you look at your car in the driveway all of the tread will be contacting the pavement from the inside of the tire to the outside. Those NASCAR teams had essentially only the inside “Endurance” zone of the tire contacting the pavement. The advantage of doing this is that when the car is in the corner, when they need maximum grip, the whole tread is in contact with the pavement.
What happens is that on the straightaways only the “Endurance” zone is contacting the pavement. This was unnecessarily putting more wear on that part of the right front tires as they load and unload entering and leaving the corners; not to mention the small tri-oval.
The last 20 laps of racing were great up front. There were no tire issues with those teams—just great racing. It’s not the Goodyear tires; it’s what the teams do to them. What to do about these NASCAR Goodyear tires? Nothing! Please leave them alone, this has been some of the best NASCAR racing in years.
Feature Photo Credit: 297648 Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images