Goodyear’s 17 inch tire – more testing planned

UPDATE #2 Goodyear is set to test the larger tire it is developing on Dec. 8-9 at Phoenix International Raceway. Roush Fenway Racing, which did the test at Richmond earlier this month, will again do the test since it has a car to accommodate the larger dimensions.(Roanoke Times)
10/10/09 That new, larger 17-inch NASCAR racing Goodyear?

No time table yet, Goodyear and NASCAR say.

In fact NASCAR seems a bit testy about the whole thing, for some reason.

Dale Inman, Richard Petty's crew chief for most of his 200 NASCAR victories, and now still a key player in the George Gillett-owned Richard Petty Motorsports operation: "They say it's not coming until 2011, so I'm not worrying about it right now."

And, well, there is apparently more than just a little behind-the-scenes debate about it, to listen to car owner Jack Roush.

Goodyear just tested it on the track, at Richmond, for the first time officially, with two NASCAR teams, both out of the Roush Ford camp.

And Goodyear's Stu Grant says the results were positive, and more testing is planned, with Roush on the point.

But listen to Roush's own reaction to the prospect of racing a new, larger tire:

"There is no 17-inch tire coming….and you can quote me on that.

"It would be too expensive….it's unnecessary…

"There is maybe only one tire company in the world that could do that, as seen by me.

"And based on my conversations with NASCAR, I don't think there is any 17-inch tire coming.

"The things that Goodyear is learning through the 17-inch-tire excursion, or experiment, is intended to benefit the tires we have today."

10/10/09 Goodyear's Stu Grant, the veteran racing boss, says this week's first on-track test of the proposed new 17-inch NASCAR racing tire-and-wheel, at Richmond International Raceway, was a success, and he is planning a second test in later this fall, probably at Phoenix International Raceway (where the Sprint Cup tour races Nov. 15, providing a good baseline).

"We got it on the ground for the first time, and we plan to put it on a short track, like Phoenix, sometime later this year, before January 1st," Grant said. "And then we will sit down with NASCAR and say 'Okay, here we are looking at 2010….and how aggressive do we want to be with this thing?'"

Grant said "We don't have a firm timetable for implementation" of the new tire in NASCAR racing. "And obviously NASCAR is in step with us in this whole process."

But Grant made very clear the 17-inch tire concept was a decided plus for Goodyear: "This helps us out everywhere. The durability is better, so it gives us more margin. The tires run cooler, and that gives us more margin too, from a heat standpoint. Tread-wear is going to be better, because you have the bigger footprint.

"And from a handling standpoint, I think the drivers are going to like it."

Paul Menard and Travis Kvapil tested the new, larger tires in Jack Roush Fords, against baseline runs on Goodyear's current 15-inch NASCAR tires.

"Travis said the 17-inch was very similar to the 15-inch from a handling standpoint," Grant said. "Paul thought it was more forgiving and easier to drive; that you could get back in the throttle quicker.

"The nice thing is it ran cooler. So with a bigger footprint on the ground, more rubber, that's nice, because that gives us some room to play with, from a compound standpoint.

"There is no timetable (for using it on the Cup tour). We're just doing all the development work up-front, so when NASCAR wants to make some changes to the car, we'll be ready with the 17-inch tire.

"Our lead time (for manufacturing) is so long, because of all the building-machine modifications we will have to do, in order to build these things and cure them, in the volume we need to support this.

"So we'll go through 2010 working on that part of the manufacturing process, to give us the capability to get bigger and bigger and bigger volume." More at

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