No surprise – Goodyear tires causing trouble at Atlanta

UPDATE Another Cup race, another Goodyear tire controversy.

Why?

You'd think that after 54 years of partnership with NASCAR, the engineers at Goodyear could go through an entire season without a controversy. Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 is expected to be another long afternoon filled with failed tires and torn up race cars.

The chorus of displeasure about the tires Goodyear has brought to Atlanta for this weekend's race has been loud enough to be heard all the way back to Ohio, home to Goodyear's corporate offices.

"There's no grip and no tires," said points leader Kyle Busch, who was dominating Saturday's Nationwide race, until he fell victim to a failed tire that sent him into the wall.

Cup teams tested with the new car at Atlanta last fall, and even though teams liked the tires and the grip they afforded on the rough Atlanta surface, Goodyear engineers apparently didn't like the way the tires performed.

"I was not pleased at our open house test last fall, and that's why we came back in December," said Justin Fantozzi, a marketing manager for the tire company.

"Now what we have is a right-side tire that's harder for better durability and a left side that has better grip in it." More at Yahoo! Sports

03/09/08 While some Sprint Cup drivers complained about the tires, as is typical at Atlanta Motor Speedway, their concerns were compounded in the Nationwide Series race Saturday afternoon. Race leader Kyle Busch blew a tire while leading the Nicorette 300. He had led 153 of the first 171 laps. The tires are the same for both Cup and Nationwide.

“It does bother me," Richard Childress Racing’s Jeff Burton said. “Short of slowing down, there is nothing that we can do to keep from having a tire problem unless you are over-cambered. … You can hardly slow down.

“Tires have been an issue at Atlanta for a long time. It continues to be an issue. It’s a real tough challenge for Goodyear. These tires don’t make a lot of grip. I know they brought what they believe to be a really, really tough tire, but there’s so much pressure on it that it’s hard to keep it from breaking. It’s not a good feeling."

Although nearly all the Cup teams tested at the track in October, Goodyear opted to test different combinations in December. The tires they have this weekend are the result of the December test. The left-side tires are a new construction that Goodyear officials believe will help add grip and will be run at all intermediate tracks. The right-side tires are a tougher tread compound designed for better wear than in the past.

“I was not pleased at our open house test last fall, and that’s why we came back in December," said Goodyear marketing manager Justin Fantozzi prior to the race. “Now what we have is a right-side tire that’s harder for better durability and a left side that has better grip in it. … At the end of the day, we always err on safety."

Tony Stewart, a Goodyear critic, said Friday he wasn’t pleased with the choice.

“After 10 years of being in the Cup Series, you learn to be highly disappointed with everything that Goodyear does," Stewart said. More at Scene Daily

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