Tag Archives: Goodyear

What to Do About These NASCAR Goodyear Tires?

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.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit:  297648 Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images



What is All This Talk About Reducing NASCAR Engine Horsepower?

Some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams were testing at Michigan International Speedway for Goodyear April 8th and 9th 2014. The teams of Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman were laying down some wicked fast laps.

Clint Bowyer said he went 217 mph in the morning session. Bowyer said, “That’s white-of-your-eyes-fast.

Those wicked fast speeds were not limited to Bowyer. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he was hitting speeds between 212 to 215 mph in the straightaways and about 180 in the turns.

There have been ongoing meetings between NASCAR and racing executives from Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota regarding reducing the horsepower in the engines. The current engines are 25 to 30 years old. NASCAR is looking to increase the longevity and therefore reduce the costs.

Though not specifically mentioned, it has got to be on NASCAR’s minds that these cars have been attaining speeds on the non-restrictor plate tracks that are over the 205 mph mark. That speed is about when the cars, if upset by contact or bumps on the track, can get airborne like an airplane. This is the very same reason they use restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega. At the current rate they are improving the cars they will be getting there soon.

I am not saying that when they get back to Michigan International Speedway they will be running at 217 mph. This tire test was a perfect storm; the track did not have rubber in it and very cool temperatures. These conditions will not exist when NASCAR gets back there in June and August.

We should applaud NASCAR for considering this now before the teams consistently race at a speed beyond which is safe. It will take more than a year for each manufacture to develop their motors for the reduced horsepower.

Roger Curtis said it best, “The drivers are posting 200 mph. That’s awesome. The fans get very, very excited about that. But at the end of the day, on Sunday when the green flag drops, the numbers ‘two zero zero’ they’re not anywhere in the fans’ minds. It’s lead changes, it’s the competition.

Competition and lead changes is what we want and that is exactly why NASCAR is looking into the engine aspect of the sport. We don’t know what changes will be made but something will happen. Either way I am looking forward to the races at Michigan International Speedway this year.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit NASCAR media/ISC Motorsports

NASCAR Drivers Have a “Days of Thunder” Moment at Auto Club Speedway

In the movie Days of Thunder NASCAR rookie stock car driver Cole Trickle gets a valuable lesson from his legendary crew chief Harry Hogge. Cole was a typical hardnosed race car driver and would literally drive the rubber off his tires, hit the wall and wreck. Harry taught him that he could hold a little back in the initial run and that the competitors tires would fall off leaving him to catch up since his did not. This is exactly what we had going on at Auto Club Speedway during the Auto Club 400.

To an outside observer there was a caution due to a tire failure every 20 laps or so. One might think that there was a tire problem. There was not. It was an aggressive set up problem. NASCAR loosened up the rules such that teams could have more camber in the tires (Angle of Tire to pavement), reduced air pressure in the tires. More importantly the ride height rules have also allowed teams to have almost no spring or shocks in the front tires.

Like the movie, these adjustments can make a NASCAR Sprint Cup car faster, and also like the movie there are consequences. It takes a delicate balance to produce speed while making the tire last.

Robin Pemberton, Vice President of Competition for NASCAR explained it this way. “Last year we opened up the rules on camber for the rear end.  I would say that a year ago at this time we were early in the process, and teams were probably not as aggressive as they wound up being as the season unfolded, as they got the mechanics better in their cars and the opportunity to be able to make parts and pieces live longer now, I think they’re probably a little bit better prepared for that. So if they had too much camber — they’ve got a lot of choices, so if they had too much and it abused the tire, that’s what happens.

NASCAR fans, we need this. We need to have the drama of teams pushing the limits and getting punished for the same. We need some teams to get it just right and punish the competition. If you watched the races at AutoClub Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway, they were exciting. Something was going to happen at any minute.

The rest of the season is going to be great.  Sometimes—like this weekend—fresh tires will make a difference, sometimes they will not. Some teams will be able to make fresh tires work; others, because of their setups, will be able to make old tires work. There is a reason to watch each and every lap; not just the last 20 or so.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 296601 Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images

2013 NASCAR Stories Continuing into 2014 – Cars

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season was the first season with the new cars.  NASCAR worked closely with the car manufacturers in order to make the cars look like cars that one could buy. This is supposed to connect with the fans better. It is also a throwback to the times when NASCAR actually raced cars that were on the show room floor.  Those days are gone due to safety but that doesn’t mean the cars can’t represent those same cars that can be purchased by the fans.

The new cars looked great. The 2013 Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion, and Toyota Camry look good. The fans have connected to the new cars and have welcomed them. They are very happy to get rid of the nondescript Car of Tomorrow. The only question was how they would race on the track.

Right off the bat the cars worked great at Daytona. There did not appear to be an advantage over any manufacturer. Two car tandem racing was all but gone and pack racing was back. Racing at the intermediate tracks (1.5 and 2 mile) was a different story.

NASCAR and Goodyear worked hard providing additional testing and tires in order to increase competitive racing at the 1.5 mile tracks. The only mistake NASCAR made is early in the season finning Denny Hamlin for criticizing the new cars. It was a mistake because Hamlin’s comments were not really that critical and more factual. That fine put the spotlight on the racing at 1.5 mile speedways for the rest of the season.

In the end NASCAR, Goodyear and the team’s efforts started paying off and there was much better racing on those tracks. NASCAR continued this effort with a rare if not unprecedented test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway before Christmas to improve racing further.

Make no mistake about it. NASCAR, Goodyear, and the Manufactures intend to continue improving these cars and the racing. This story will continue throughout 2014.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary, or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google.