Goodyear Tiires again an issue Goodyear has a new tire combination here, and some drivers so far aren't all that happy with it. Denny Hamlin was the most critical.
However Goodyear said that during the August 4th test here, with some 10 cars (in order to get plenty of rubber down on the concrete surface), the two primary tire testers were Jimmie Johnson and AJ Allmendinger, according to Goodyear, and both men agreed this was the right combination to bring for the 400. Juan Pablo Montoya was also at that test but he has downplayed his role in selecting the tires.
Greg Biffle criticized Goodyear using Johnson, a chase driver, in the test: "We were told that NASCAR wouldn't allow any chase drivers to do any tire testing for races in the chase."
But Goodyear officials pointed out the test was run well before the playoffs began (though Johnson was second in the standings at that time, and just coming off the win at Indianapolis).
Hamlin: "There was a tire test here, and from what I hear, they didn't bring back the tire that everyone liked again.
"Same as Atlanta.
"They keep increasing the stagger in the tires (making the right-sides taller than the left-sides, to make a car turn more easily, think Dixie Cup on its side)…..and it just keeps making guys loose-in and loose-off.
"You'll see it during the race. You're going to see guys sliding all over the place…just like at Atlanta.
"They won't listen to us drivers, so I don’t know why we even tire-test these tracks anymore.
"To say it's a benefit to tire-test I think is completely false, because nine times out of 10, they bring back a tire that nobody even tested on.
"They'll take a lot of data from 'this tire' or they'll piece together 'this tire' and 'that tire' and make a tire that no one has run on and ends up being terrible. I think it's just crap, really."
Actually the tire construction that Goodyear has here is the new Las Vegas-type construction that teams, after that race, were so pleased with, for its increased grip. That tire design was also used at Charlotte. And Goodyear dismissed Hamlin's complaints about stagger, saying that the new tires, although both left-sides and right-sides are smaller than the May tires here, have relatively the same stagger.
Juan Pablo Montoya perhaps puts the tire debate in perspective: "The biggest thing, it's just a different tire. I think whatever happened before can't really relate to what happens now.
"So we have to assume it's going to be good. It's seems to be putting a lot of rubber out there. Just got to wait and see what happens."
In fact Goodyear has applied to these tires some of the added-rubber techniques it learned during extensive testing for Indianapolis' Brickyard 400, so that these tires will put down more rubber on the concrete (which is a surface that is notoriously hard to 'rubber up').
And Gil Martin, crew chief for Kevin Harvick, says he and his driver are quite pleased with these new tires: "This is the most grip we've ever had here," Martin said. MikeMulhern.net
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