Goodyear brings new tire to Texas

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Goodyear will bring a new left-side tire for this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 to address challenges from the recent repave and reconfiguration of Texas Motor Speedway,

The track was updated prior to the 2017 season.

Repaves typically increase adhesion, create more friction and increase the heat in the tire, while the smooth surface does not allow the rubber to shred. Goodyear will keep the same right-side tire as last year but developed the new left to allow for more rubber to be worked into the track and produce more side-by-side racing during a fuel run.

The current tire combination was a result of a test at Texas Jan. 9-10. Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola participated.

“We had a good test at Texas and we were able to address some of the challenges that all repaves present,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, in a statement. “This being just the third NASCAR Cup race since the repave, the track surface has not really had the chance to weather in, so to speak. This new left-side tire matches up well with this still smooth surface and will accomplish our goal of increased wear and laying rubber on the track. That should lead to an increased level of fall-off over the course of a fuel run and a widened racing groove.”

The new left-side tire compound will be used in both the Cup and Xfinity series.

This left-side tire construction is similar to the one used at Auto Club Speedway earlier this year.

Tire Specifications

Tire Codes: Left-side, D-4770; Right-side, D-4718

Tire Circumference: Left-side, 87.68 in.; Right-side, 88.62 in.

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front, 22 psi; Left Rear, 22 psi; Right Front, 52 psi; Right Rear, 50 psi.

Set limits: Cup: 4 sets for practice, 1 set for qualifying and 9 sets for race; Xfinity: 7 sets for the event

Trevor Bayne on Charlotte Roval: ‘You have to be on your game’

Photo: Charlotte Motor Speedway
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Rain washed out the second day of Goodyear tire testing Wednesday on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval. Goodyear has tentatively scheduled May 1 as a make-up test date.

Trevor Bayne, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Kyle Larson took part in the test Tuesday.

“I just took some slow pace laps and got a feel for the race track,” Bayne said in a statement from Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I was nervous, but I wasn’t anxious because I was never going to go out there and make qualifying laps. We worked our pace in and our plan, we stuck to it. I felt really good by the end of the day.

“You have to be on your game, that’s for sure. You can’t really let your guard down anywhere. There’s no room to make mistakes. If you make a mistake, you’re going to pay for it pretty quickly. If you try to do something and it doesn’t work, you’ll pay the price. It’s going to be a survival race. … If you’re smart, you take care of your car and you don’t make mistakes, you’ll have a really good shot at the end for a good finish. I enjoyed it. It was a challenge for me – something new – and I enjoyed that part of it.”

Organizational tests at Charlotte will be in July. There will be two different sessions. Each team is allowed to test at one of the two sessions, which will be July 10 (rain date of July 11) and July 17 (rain date of July 18).

The Charlotte Roval hosts the final race of the first round of the Cup playoffs on Sept. 30 on NBC.

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Long: NASCAR gets it right with common sense decision

Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway

Something had to be done and NASCAR made the right call Friday night to allow teams that made a qualifying attempt to purchase a fresh set of tires to start Sunday’s Cup race.

The decision avoided all but penalizing teams that followed the rules.

Thirteen teams — more than a third of starting field — failed to pass inspection before qualifying and didn’t make an attempt Friday.

The penalty?

They had to start at the rear and on sticker tires.

That isn’t much of a penalty at Auto Club Speedway. 

Sticker tires are faster. The more laps run on tires, the slower the car goes on Auto Club Speedway’s worn surface. Even a three-lap difference in laps run between the top 12 cars and those that didn’t make a qualifying attempt can be viewed as significant.

“It’s a huge advantage,’’ pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. said. “In my mind if you’re not probably in the top four, you are better off being 25th.’’

Also, it helps those in the back that Auto Club Speedway’s 2-mile track has as many lanes as a Los Angeles freeway, giving competitors options for passing opportunities.

Had this been at Martinsville Speedway, where the series races next week, the penalty would have been sufficient as is because a car would start the race nearly half a lap behind the leader and have limited lanes to move through traffic.

Saturday morning, NASCAR announced a revision for the Xfinity Series. NASCAR stated that any team that does not make a qualifying attempt will start from the rear of the field and be required to serve a pass-through penalty once the green flag waves. That all but likely would put the car a lap down at the start.

While it’s not always best for the series to change rules during an event, NASCAR’s decision Friday night (and Saturday morning with the Xfinity Series) was the best solution in a tough situation.

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Hair today, gone tomorrow: Ryan Blaney to sport new haircut this week

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Ryan Blaney‘s long mane and mustache will be history this week.

“This will definitely let me know the season is about here and you have to start looking like a professional,” Blaney said Tuesday during a break in the Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway.

So how did his hair get this way?

“I thought it looked good,” said Blaney, who moves to the No. 12 Cup team at Team Penske this season from the Wood Brothers. “I had a mustache for a cruise. I just decided to keep it, and I decided to keep it for this test, but it will all get cleaned up Friday. I actually have an appointment to shave this and cut my hair off.”

Well, not all off, of course.

But it will be much shorter, mirroring the look of Team Penske drivers and employees.

Blaney was asked if he was sad to see his long hair soon gone.

“It’s just hair,” he said. “It’s facial hair. It’s dead skin that grows out of your head. It’s nothing anything too major. I actually laugh at fans that give me a hard time whether I’m going to cut it or not. It’s just hair. There’s a lot more important things out there, but it’s funny to see the reactions. You can cut anything off that you want and it’s not going to change (me). Personality-wise I’m going to be the same person but just look a little different.

“It will be interesting not having hair touching my neck all the time. It will be a lot less work. I don’t know if you know how much work it takes to have long hair. I actually don’t really like it. It’s almost gotten too much for me. So it will look different. But I think I’ll stay the same. I’ll still be Ryan.”

The tire test concludes today. Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola and reigning series champ Martin Truex Jr. also are participating.

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Goodyear signs extension with NASCAR

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HOMESTEAD, Florida — NASCAR announced Saturday a multi-year renewal with Goodyear for the company to be the series’ sole tire supplier. The deal goes through the 2022 season.

The move wasn’t in doubt with NASCAR and Goodyear having previously done tests for the 2018 season. Goodyear has been the exclusive tire supplier for all three of NASCAR’s top series since 1997. Goodyear has been a race tire supplier for NASCAR since 1954.

“We proudly join Goodyear in celebrating our renewed and longstanding partnership,” said Brent Dewar, NASCAR president, in a statement. “For more than half a century, NASCAR and our teams have trusted Goodyear tires. Our partners’ commitment to innovation and excellence plays a key role in our unyielding pursuit to deliver the best racing product in the world.”

Goodyear’s current five-year deal was set to expire after this season.

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