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DATE News (chronologically)
05/03/09
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Goodyear still can't fix Indy wear issues UPDATE Those NASCAR tire testers hit the track at Indianapolis again on Wednesday but, unfortunately, Goodyear failed again.

“I would say it was a small gain,” said the Chevrolet representative, Ryan Newman trying to be politically correct. “It was a small gain in respect to the number of laps we could run. The tires still are not ideal.”

“The soft tires rubber the track up, but then they blister when you get running too fast,” said Matt Kenseth, the Ford representative. “For some reason, the hard tires don’t have enough stick to them and they don’t stick to the track and they just turn into dust (Goodyear tires turning into dust, are you surprised?). So it’s been a little bit of a struggle.”

Those two drivers, plus Brian Vickers and Reed Sorenson, have done the bulk of the testing recently. A larger test, which is supposed to be the final trial, comes in mid-June. The tire they tested this week lasted 18 laps, up from 10 a week ago.  If that test fails there will probably be no time for another test and perhaps NASCAR will have to cancel the race, which would be the final nail in Goodyear's coffin.

“But the tire life itself is still less than a half of a fuel run,” Newman said. “It is just a tough situation, man. We spent the first part of the day cording tires then the last part of the day blistering tires because they weren’t wearing. We just have to find the happy medium. It is really tough to do with four cars, but I think it can be done.”

The final test will be run after the Indianapolis 500 on May 27. Newman thinks that may make a difference.

“It is going to be interesting to see what the track is like after May,” he said. “If the IndyCar tires have a good effect or a bad effect or no effect at all on what we do in June to help the race track out."  Firestone tires have no problem at Indy, despite the new asphalt and ground surface.

“It is just a matter of finding the right tire and right tire combination to go with that asphalt -- because that asphalt is so coarse -- and ground that it is difficult.” (Difficult for a Goodyear tire, but no problem for Firestone tires)

“The bottom line is, last year was an embarrassment for the Series and the fans, and we need to redeem ourselves,” Newman said. “Whatever we have to do to do that should be considered.”

05/01/09 Goodyear has added an additional tire test for Indianapolis Motor Speedway in late May, but the manufacturer’s general manager of worldwide racing, Stu Grant, said progress was made during a test there Wednesday from a test a week earlier.  Last year at Indianapolis, NASCAR had to throw a caution flag after every 12-13 laps of the Allstate 400 because the tires were turning to dust and wearing to the cords.

Goodyear has had several tests since then, including two last October. At one of those tests with 13 teams, Goodyear had a tire it felt comfortable with but was concerned about the heat. It came back with a different tire a week later that worked better in a one-car test.

Goodyear went back April 20-22 to Indianapolis and had similar problems to those it did a year ago, but engineers were unsure if that could be attributed to the track being green with no activity in nearly six months. At the test this past Wednesday, Goodyear brought the tire that worked well at the 13-team test last October.

“We went back with that right-side, and at first we got the typical seven or eight laps and then cords and then 10-12 laps into the cords and then all of a sudden, the track rubbered in and things looked good,” Grant said Friday at Richmond International Raceway. “We had projections to do about 30 laps, and then we ran a couple of 10-lap runs and blistered the right sides.

“It was a classic situation: When the track is not rubbered in, you can see the high wear and that gets rid of the high heat. Once the track gets rubbered in and the wear goes away and the heat stays, then we blistered some right-side tires. That’s not going to work, either. Now we have to find something in the middle. The good news is we were able to rubber in the race track.” [Editor's Note: When is NASCAR going to wise up and get a tire supplier like Michelin or Bridgestone who know what they are doing?  The current situation is almost comical.]

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