On Wednesday night, the NASCAR Cup Series will do a first: race under the lights at Martinsville Speedway (7 p.m. ET on FS1).
For the event, Goodyear will bring new tire codes to the half-mile track. The construction of the tires – a result of a test at the track last year partially held at night – has been designed to optimize the acceleration, deceleration and handling needed on Martinsville’s flat, tight turns.
The teams that took part in the test were Team Penske (Ryan Blaney), Stewart-Haas Racing (Clint Bowyer) and Wood Brothers Racing (Paul Menard). This is the only track at which NASCAR teams will run either of these two tire codes. As on most NASCAR ovals 1 mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Martinsville.
“Moving the first Martinsville race later in the schedule will have an impact on tires and the track’s ability to take rubber,” Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, said in a media release. “Originally scheduled for May and now being held in June, ambient temperatures will be warmer, which will help the cars’ ability to lay rubber in the concrete corners. Even though this race will be held at night, track temperatures should be warmer than what we ‘normally’ have for this event. In addition to the concrete corners, Martinsville’s lack of banking, long straightaways and tight turns combine for the other challenges teams face. Drivers are hard on the brakes entering the corners and hard on the gas exiting, so our constructions have to be very robust in handling those conditions.”
Here’s the info on the tires being used at Martinsville:
Set limits: 10 sets for the race
Tire Codes: Left-side — D-4948; Right-side — D-4950
Tire Circumference: Left-side — 2,221 mm (87.44 in.); Right-side — 2,250 mm (88.58 in.)
Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front — 10 psi; Left Rear — 10 psi; Right Front — 23 psi; Right Rear — 22 psi