Gordon says Goodyear tires ready for Allstate 400
Four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon could not have been more emphatic in his opinion that Goodyear has found a great tire combination for the 2009 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 26.
"I can promise all the fans out there that if they want to come to the Brickyard and see a great race, and be confident that the tires are not going to be an issue, you can trust me," Gordon said.
Gordon, who won the inaugural "400" at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994 and is today one of the seasoned leaders in the NASCAR garage, was among 12 veteran NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who participated in a Goodyear tire test June 15-16. The drivers tested all day June 15 and took to the track for a busy one-hour, 20-minute test session June 16 before rain ended the day's activities.
It was the seventh time Goodyear has tested at IMS since tire wear issues forced NASCAR to throw numerous "competition cautions" during the 15th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in July 2008.
Gordon said his first run early Monday proved to him just how much progress Goodyear had made.
"You always expect, when you come to Indianapolis, the first couple of runs you're going to see excessive wear until rubber gets laid down," he said. "We never saw that. The first run maybe we saw a little bit, but we never came close to getting through to the wear holes. It was fantastic. On our first run yesterday - and we ran some pretty quick laps - the excessive wear was not there. We expected to see something, and we didn't."
According to Greg Stucker, Goodyear director of racing tire sales, the company tested more than 20 different tire formulas over the last 11 months, and picked what he believes is the right tire combination for the challenging 2.5-mile IMS oval at the June 1-2 test. This test further validated that choice.
In addition to on-track testing at IMS and in-house testing conducted by Goodyear engineers, Stucker said Goodyear also had the same company that performed the diamond grinding on the IMS oval - designed to smooth and level the track - also diamond-grind parts of Goodyear's test track in Akron, Ohio, to replicate the IMS surface.
"We've got our name on the sidewall of every tire, so I think it's extremely important to our whole corporation," Stucker said. "There was nobody that walked out of here - the teams, NASCAR and Goodyear - that weren't disappointed with last year's outcome, and we went to work the very next day. I can guarantee you that within the racing division there hasn't been a day gone by that we haven't talked about the Brickyard, our feelings about it and what we're doing.
"It has been number-one priority for the last 11 months, and I think we got it right."