How Goodyear came up with the Daytona 500 tire If everything Goodyear learns making tires for NASCAR inspires what it rolls into tires for everyday drivers, Daytona International Speedway may have been its biggest classroom.
While February Daytona Speedweeks marks the “official” beginning of the 2011 NASCAR season, preparation for the new season began in August of 2010 for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the exclusive tire supplier of NASCAR’s three major national series. The first repaved surface at Daytona since 1978 posed a unique challenge to Goodyear as the surface would not be complete prior to the October deadline to begin tire production for the race. Using its years of experience, numerous analytical tests and some innovative thinking, Goodyear produced a tire package that performed well and was positively reviewed by drivers during the December 2010 tire test and January NASCAR open test at Daytona.
“This year’s preparation for Daytona was quite a challenge from our perspective, as the repave timing didn’t allow us to conduct a conventional tire test. We had to come up with an alternate plan to get tires in time for Speedweeks 2011,” said Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales, Goodyear. “Since Daytona was being repaved by the same company that did Talladega back in 2006 and given the similarities between the two tracks, we did a lot of testing in Alabama. We then analyzed the results to a test strip that was poured in Daytona and compared a significant amount of historical data we had on the two surfaces.”
After comparing test results from both surfaces and running analyses, Goodyear made its recommendation for the 500. The tire choice was not only validated by Goodyear during its extensive lab performance testing, but once again during the December and January tests, where some of NASCAR’s top talent also spoke positively about the setup Goodyear was planning to bring to Daytona.
“The tires right off the bat felt really good – the surface is incredible and Goodyear did a nice job matching the tire to it…and that’s what it is all about,” said Jeff Burton, driver, #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy, who participated on the Goodyear-sponsored test. “It’s easy to pave a racetrack – the hard part is having everything mesh together and I feel like Goodyear nailed it with this tire.”
“We knew we had done our homework. We are very happy to have delivered a package and setup satisfied the drivers,” added Stucker. “We were able to use our experience and skill to come up with an innovative solution to this unique challenge.”
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