Goodyear may add Martinsville tire test later this year

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UPDATE: Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said Wednesday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that there will be a tire test at Martinsville Speedway later this year. No date has been announced.

Pending conversations with NASCAR, Goodyear is looking to add a tire test at Martinsville Speedway before the track’s fall race weekend.

The move would come after a lackluster Cup race there last week. A variety of factors contributed to the racing fans saw. 

One factor was the cold weather. The temperature dropped to 39 degrees during the race, according to the National Weather Service.

Tires do not lay rubber on the track, especially the concrete corners at Martinsville, in cold conditions. Without rubber on the track, drivers aren’t forced to find different lanes. The result is that field runs in a single line.

Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of race tire sales, discussed Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Late Shift” the conditions for the tires at Martinsville and what could be next. 

“It’s tough,” he said. “Obviously we worked on the formulation on that tread compound. … We thought we hit on a pretty good combination. We’ve already talked about perhaps going back a little bit later in the year and try to work on a little bit more. The difficult thing is how do you replicate those conditions? You’ve got to go back and run the evening, and we have to do it fairly quick in order to test in those same kind of conditions. 

“It’s going to be tough, no question about it. I think if you look at the conditions of the race on Saturday night, we had a lot of green flag runs, right? A lot of long runs that certainly, normally, would have put some rubber down on the racetrack.

“It’s going to be a tough nut to crack, but we’ll probably have a go at it and see what we can come up with from a materials perspective that would work at a lower operating conditions, temperatures if that’s what we’re going to be operating in at Martinsville for the next foreseeable future.”

Asked about adding a tire test, Stucker told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio:

“If I had to make the call right now, I would say we probably would just to see if we can’t move the needle. It doesn’t do any good just to say, ‘OK, it is what it is and that’s what we’re going to deal with.’

“Let’s go back and see what we can do to improve it if we can, and that’s what we’re all in this about to make the racing as good as we can. We certainly want to do everything we can from a tire perspective. It’s not out of the realm of possibility we go back there and do a test.”

Cup cars will be back at Martinsville this summer. NASCAR has an organizational test there Aug. 23-24.

The Cup race at Martinsville is Oct. 30. It is the final race before the championship weekend at Phoenix.