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Apr 04, 2014 - 07:21 PM
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Goodyear Confident In Tires For Texas Races
Posted by: ASkyler on Apr 04, 2014 - 07:21 PM
Feature Articles
Goodyear Confident In Tires For Texas Races


By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

FORT WORTH, Tex. -- Despite reservations expressed by a handful of drivers, both NASCAR and tire maker Goodyear are confident in the tires NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will have on their cars in Sunday's Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Goodyear is bringing its multi-zone technology to Texas for the first time. Specifically, the right-side tires feature a more durable, heat-resistant compound on the outer shoulder and a softer, more tractive compound on the inner two-thirds of the tire.

"We feel very good about going into this weekend," Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director of race tire sales, said Friday. "Very similar to Atlanta (where the Zone Tread Technology was introduced last year), they're known quantities.

"In fact, the harder compound of this tire is the same as we raced in Atlanta last year. The outboard compound is the same that we raced in both races here at Texas. So very known quantities. Like I said, the left side is a very known quantity, as well."

 

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Texas is the first high-speed track the series has visited since the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced Mar. 23 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Throughout the weekend at Fontana, drivers had problems with flat tires, particularly left rears.

But those issues generally beset teams that were testing the limits of low tire pressure and maximum camber. In the race itself, 12 drivers had flat tires. The remaining 31 drivers did not.

In his media availability last week at Martinsville, Jeff Gordon said he expected to see tire issues at Texas, too. Stucker, on the other hand, expressed confidence in the product Goodyear has provided.

"We feel very good about our recommendation here," Stucker said. "Historically, Texas has not been a race track where we have a lot of left-side problems, to be quite honest with you. We addressed the right side, because it's a high‑speed race track, and that's what gets stressed tremendously here. That's why we came with the Zone Tread tire, because it was a good solution to that.

"Really, I think, on the heels of some of the issues we saw at Fontana, people are asking the question, 'Is there a possibility we could see the same thing?' There's always that possibility. People are always pushing the envelope, always trying to stress all parts of the race car. We understand that and support that. That's what makes racing great, right?

"Historically, we haven't seen a lot of that, so I don't have a lot of concerns above and beyond what we would have in a normal weekend."

PENSKE HONORED

Team Penske owner Roger Penske was inducted into the Texas Motor Speedway at a Thursday night dinner at Texas Motor Speedway.

Though Penske himself was unable to attend, his organization was well-represented. Penske Corporation Executive Vice President Walt Czarnecki accepted the induction.

Drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, crew chiefs Paul Wolfe and Todd Gordon and Director of Competition Travis Geisler all attended the dinner in support of their boss.

Penske wasn't the only honoree. Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned the Major General Thomas Sadler Award for his generosity to children in North Texas. Earnhardt helped raise more than $30,000 for Speedway Children's Charities last fall when he hosted the BBQ pit stop with Dale Jr. at Hard Eight BBQ in Roanoke, Texas.

"Any time it involves barbecue, you can count me in," Earnhardt said of one of his favorite pastimes.

Earnhardt acknowledged that successful barbecue was an intricate process, "but if you drink too many beers, it's easy to forget a couple of steps."

Kyle Busch was named Texas Motor Speedway racer of the year for his sweep of the NASCAR Sprint Cup/NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend last spring. Norm Miller, chairman of longtime Joe Gibbs Racing sponsor Interstate Batteries, presented the award to Busch and, in the process, recalled a less festive time at TMS.

The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas was the Interstate Batteries 500 in 1997. The winner? Jeff Burton, sponsored by rival Exide Batteries.

"That was the only race we ever sponsored," Miller recalled. "And guess who had to present the trophy in Victory Lane? Moi!"

Also honored Thursday night were NNS driver James Buescher (Texas Motor Speedway sportsmanship award for his work with tornado victims in Moore, Okla.); and Dario Franchitti (O. Bruton Smith legend award for the four-time IndyCar Series champion, who has retired from competition for health reasons).

THE TARDY DOZEN

NASCAR held 12 teams out of the first 15 minutes of Friday's opening practice at Texas Motor Speedway because they were late presenting their cars for inspection last week at Martinsville Speedway.

Drivers docked 15 minutes at the start of the 110-minute session, which started at 6 p.m. ET, were Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, rookie Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Landon Cassill, Cole Whitt, Michael Annett, Martin Truex Jr., Reed Sorenson, Clint Bowyer and Parker Kligerman.

"To be fair to the garage, you have to maintain schedules and equal opportunities to work on your cars," said NASCAR Vice President of Competition and Racing Development Robin Pemberton. "We're more structured this year with getting our cars through inspection, getting them out on the line for qualifying.

"So to be fair to all the competitors, we have certain time frames which you're allowed to work on your car, when you have to be out of the garage and getting ready for qualifying. We'll continue to look at this. It's not anything towards any shenanigans going on or any problems or issues with race tracks or inspection or anything like that. It's just a way of doing business."

The order in which teams go through the inspection lines is determined by lot.

WINNING DESIGN

Fourth grader Whitney Thomason of Trophy Club's Samuel Beck Elementary School was the first winner Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Thomason created the winning paint scheme in Spin Master's NASCAR Authentics "Design a Die-Cast" competition among 11 elementary schools and more than 6,500 students participating in the TMS "Speeding to Read" educational program.

In front of nearly 4,500 students at TMS, Thomason got her reward -- a die-cast version of her design, tickets to Sunday's Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the surprise unveiling of a full-size NASCAR Sprint Cup show car bearing her design.


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