Goodyear hasn’t talked with NASCAR about rules changes in Chase for the Sprint Cup


LOUDON, N.H. – A Goodyear official said there hasn’t been discussions yet with NASCAR about using a lower-downforce package in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Greg Stucker, the director of race tire sales for the tire supplier, said Goodyear would need to know within the next week if NASCAR wanted to use a softer tire to match a lower-downforce package if it were implemented for the Sept. 20 race at Chicagoland Speedway that will open the Chase.

“I think we’d have to sit down and look at it pretty hard and see what our options would be,” Stucker said when asked what might happen if NASCAR wanted to use a lower-downforce version. “We haven’t had that serious conversation yet because that really hasn’t been proposed to us.”

It’s possible that Goodyear could bring the tire it already confirmed for Chicagoland race with the current rules package during a test this week.

Last Saturday’s race at Kentucky Speedway marked the debut of the lower-downforce approach, but there wasn’t time to build a tire intended to match the package. It seemed to matter little as green-flag passes spiked by 132 percent.

Some drivers have lobbied for a softer tire with lower downforce so they can enjoy more comfort, grip and stability in making passes. But there seemed no problems with the durability of the “unmatched” tire at Kentucky.

“If you look at how Kentucky went and the level of grip vs. the level of downforce, you could extrapolate to say that Chicagoland would probably be similar,” Stucker said. “I think we’d probably want to go back and confirm that and look at that briefly.”

The lower-downforce package will be used again Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway for the Southern 500. Goodyear is building a softer tire for that race after being able to test with the new rules last month. That compound produced more grip and slightly faster lap times that virtually matched the speeds produced with the current downforce rules.

The Darlington change was made with about 10 weeks of lead time. Stucker said Goodyear prefers to have about three months to manufacture the more than 1,000 tires that are needed for a Sprint Cup weekend.

“Obviously we’ve pulled the trigger on a few (races) a little sooner,” he said. “We can adjust with that. I’m talking about the ideal world, you just like to plan accordingly. We always like to factor in about 90 days, but things are moving kind of quickly here. We’re trying to be as flexible as we can. We’re trying to put the plan on notice there could be changes, and we need to react as we can.”

Stucker confirmed that Goodyear tested a softer tire with the lower-downforce package at Chicagoland but encountered blistering problems with the right side after 20 laps.

“We simply were a little too soft, a little too hung out,” Stucker said. “That’s not going to be the package that’ll work for Chicago in that configuration.”

Stucker said Goodyear wouldn’t built two sets of tires – one for the current rules and one for lower downforce – to extend the deadline for choosing between them.

“I think everyone understands by the nature of how much product we have to produce, and the time it takes to produce them, we’re not as flexible as everyone else is,” he said. “I think everybody recognizes that. We’re trying to move things around and be as flexible as we can. So, we’ll react as we need to. I think everyone would like to have those data points.

“I think we have Kentucky, where we had a minor grip improvement, but in everybody’s eyes, maybe that wasn’t ideal from a grip perspective. But maybe it was. Now we go to Darlington and add that grip back. We’ll have two really good data points with that configuration.”

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.