Goodyear Tire failures impact many NASCAR teams Sunday Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway produced a massive number of tire failures, as Goodyear Eagles exploded with shocking regularity from the opening 20 laps until the end of the race. #48-Jimmie Johnson, #4-Kevin Harvick, #99-Carl Edwards, #16-Greg Biffle, #9-Marcos Ambrose, #2-Brad Keselowski, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #15-Clint Bowyer were among the top drivers who saw their races go out the window because of tire failures. But afterward, most of the drivers weren't pointing the finger at Goodyear as the source of the problem. Instead, they pointed to changes with the cars and how they are set up for 2014. Last year, NASCAR loosened rules on how much air pressure the teams must run in their tires and how much camber they can run. This year, NASCAR added downforce with a new, larger rear spoiler.
Some teams got very aggressive by running extremely low air pressures on left-side tires -- 11 pounds per square inch in some cases, vs. the Goodyear recommendation of 22 psi -- and equally aggressive camber, which is defined as how much the tire slants away from vertical when viewing it from the front or back. Lower air pressures combined with aggressive camber make for extremely fast speeds, but it greatly increases the risk of catastrophic tire failure, which is what happened again and again and again on Sunday.
"Last year we opened up the rules on camber for the rear end," added Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition and racing development. "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." Asked by FOXSports.com if he thought the tire failures were a Goodyear problem, Pemberton was clear. "No," Pemberton said. "We've talked to Goodyear. We have asked, the competitors have asked to bring more aggressive tires, to bring tires that they need to manage and want to -- how they use them and how they get the most out of them. At this point in time, I think Goodyear, it's the same tire that we've run on in the past. Just the car is a little bit different." FoxSports
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