Greg Stucker

Getty Images

Goodyear tire info for Kansas Speedway

1 Comment

NASCAR makes its first visit of the season to Kansas Speedway this weekend for a pair of races that will be under the lights: Friday night’s Truck Series race and Saturday night’s Cup event.

According to a Goodyear media release: “The track surface at Kansas Speedway has quietly weathered over the past several years, evidenced by the fact that in both of their races in 2018, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup teams experienced two seconds of tire fall-off over the course of a full fuel run. Having said that, the 2019 aerodynamic package with higher downforce has resulted in slightly less tire fall off this season, as the cars slide less in the corners. Still, four-tire stops should be the norm in the race, making the pit crews a critical part of a team’s success.

Added Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing: “The right-side tire we are running at Kansas is the same one the Cup cars ran at Las Vegas and Texas earlier this season, and it is formulated to wear more. After its repave in 2012, the track surface at Kansas has finally felt the effects of the weather and has started to age and generate more fall off. We expect this tire combination to rubber-in the track from bottom to top, creating multiple racing grooves along the way.”

NOTES: While teams in both the NASCAR Cup and Gander Outdoors Truck Series will run the same right-side tire code at Kansas this weekend, each series will run its own left-side code. For the Cup cars, this is the same left-side tire code they ran at Dover last weekend, while this right-side tire code was run at both Las Vegas and Texas earlier this season, compared to what was run at Kansas last year. Both of these tires feature construction updates that bring them into line with what is run at other tracks, while this right-side moves teams to a single tread tire vs. a multi-zone tread.

Trucks: This is the first time teams have run this left-side tire code. Compared to what the Trucks ran at Kansas in 2018, this left-side code features a construction update to align with other speedways and a compound change to give the Trucks more grip. Trucks ran this right-side tire code at Texas in March. It features a construction update and moves the trucks from a multi-zone tread to a single tread tire vs. Kansas 2018.

Both series: As on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Kansas. Air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.

Here’s the tire info for this weekend’s races:

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials.

Set limits: Cup – 3 sets for practice, 1 set for qualifying and 9 sets for the race (8 race sets plus 1 set transferred from qualifying or practice). Trucks – 6 sets for the event.

Tire Codes: Cup – Left-side -- D-4868; Right-side – D-4796. Trucks – Left-side – D-4880; Right-side – D-4796

Tire Circumference: Cup – Left-side -- 2,227 mm (87.68 in.); Right-side -- 2,251 mm (88.62 in.). Trucks – Left-side -- 2,227 mm (87.68 in.); Right-side -- 2,252 mm (88.66 in.).

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Cup – Left Front -- 22 psi; Left Rear -- 22 psi; Right Front -- 52 psi; Right Rear -- 50 psi. Trucks – Left Front -- 24 psi; Left Rear -- 22 psi; Right Front -- 52 psi; Right Rear -- 50 psi.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Goodyear tire info for Talladega Superspeedway

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NASCAR makes its first visit of the season to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, and with it will come a new left side tire in both Cup and Xfinity. Right side tires remain the same from those used in both Cup races and the sole Xfinity race last season at Talladega.

The new tire set-up was recommended for Talladega after a tire test at Daytona on Feb. 18-19 with Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson and Daniel Hemric. As on all NASCAR ovals greater than 1 mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tires at Talladega. Air pressure in those inner liners should be between 12 and 25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.

Since its repave in 2010, Talladega has used a different tire than at Daytona.

According to a Goodyear media release, “Talladega exhibits some wear characteristics, though teams are still able to employ some tire strategy – two-tire and fuel-only stops – that leads to chances to trade fresh rubber for track position. Because it is possible to pit at Talladega and not lose a lap to the race leaders, that opens up strategy plays for teams outside the top 10 to short pit and gain track position when the rest of the field pits at the end of a stage.”

Added Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, While we actually see some tire wear at Talladega, it still leaves room for some team and pit strategy. When to pit, with whom and how many tires to take all come into the equation for teams to consider this weekend. And adding in a rules package that Cup teams will be running for the first time, should make for some interesting racing.”

Here’s the tire info for this weekend’s races:

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Superspeedway Radials.

Set limits: Cup: 2 sets for practice, 1 set for qualifying and 7 sets for the race (6 race sets plus 1 set transferred from qualifying or practice). Xfinity: 4 sets for the event.

Tire Codes: Cup: Left-side — D-4886; Right-side – D-4752. Xfinity: Left-side — D-4596; Right-side – D-4752.

Tire Circumference: Cup: Left-side — 2,236 mm (88.03 in.); Right-side — 2,249 mm (88.54 in.) Xfinity: Left-side — 2,233 mm (87.91 in.); Right-side — 2,249 mm (88.54 in.).

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Cup: Left Front — 29 psi; Left Rear – 29 psi; Right Front — 50 psi; Right Rear — 48 psi. Xfinity: Left Front — 29 psi; Left Rear – 29 psi; Right Front — 50 psi; Right Rear — 48 psi.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Cup teams will have new tire combination for Las Vegas

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Goodyear will bring a new left-side tire to Las Vegas for Cup and Xfinity teams. It features a construction update that Goodyear will be rolling out at many tracks this season.

Goodyear will also have a new right-side tire for Las Vegas for Cup and Xfinity teams. It is a single-tread compound instead of the multi-zone tread used at the track last year.

This tire combination was confirmed by Cup teams at an organizational test Jan. 31 – Feb. 1.

“Since the track surface at Las Vegas has proven over the years to be one that generates minimal tire wear, we have made a change to our tire recommendation for this weekend’s races,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, in a statement.

“What we did was – in addition to introducing a construction update to this left-side tire – is go to a right-side tire that we have already run on some of the smoother track surfaces on the circuit, like Michigan and Texas.

“Excessive heat is really the enemy of a race tire and tire performance. On surfaces that don’t naturally promote wear, it is important to design a tire that can handle and dissipate that heat, and this right-side utilizes a tread compound formulation which does that.”

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series — Race No. 3 – Pennzoil 400

NASCAR Xfinity Series — Race No. 3 – Boyd Gaming 300

Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval) – Las Vegas, Nev.

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials

Set limits: Cup: 3 sets for practice, 1 set for qualifying and 8 sets for race;

Xfinity: 7 sets for the event

Tire Codes: Left-side — D-4842; Right-side — D-4796

Tire Circumference: Left-side — 2,227 mm (87.68 in.); Right-side — 2,253 mm (88.70 in.)

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front — 22 psi; Left Rear — 22 psi;

Right Front — 54 psi; Right Rear — 50 psi

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series — Race No. 3 – Strat 200

Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval) – Las Vegas, Nev.

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials

Set limits: 6 sets for the event

Tire Codes: Left-side — D-4832; Right-side — D-4776

Tire Circumference: Left-side — 2,224 mm (87.56 in.); Right-side — 2,252 mm (88.66 in.)

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front — 24 psi; Left Rear — 22 psi;

Right Front — 54 psi; Right Rear — 50 psi

 

The Truck Series will run a new left-side tire code. Compared to what was run at Las Vegas last  year, this left-side tire features a construction update. Truck teams ran the right-side tire at Las Vegas in September. It is a multi-zone tread.

Viewers guide to Miami Championship Weekend

Leave a comment

Sunday will be a life-changing day for one driver. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano will race for the Cup championship in Miami (3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC and NASCAR Hot Pass on NBCSN).

Harvick, Busch and Truex look to become the 16th driver in NASCAR history to win multiple Cup championships. Logano seeks his first series title.

“It’s just one of the greatest joys in the world,” Busch said of winning a NASCAR Cup title.

While one will celebrate Sunday, the other three will experience what Busch calls “one of the greatest defeats in the world.”

Here’s a guide to the final weekend of the NASCAR season:

FAMILIAR FACES

Kyle Busch races for a championship for the fourth consecutive year after failing to advance to the title race in 2014, the first year of the elimination format.

Kevin Harvick makes his fourth appearances in the championship race in five years. This is reigning champion Martin Truex Jr.’s third appearance. Joey Logano also makes his third appearance.

The four drivers have combined to win more than 60 percent of the races this season — the first time the Championship 4 drivers have won more than half the races in a season in the elimination format. They also rank first through fourth in top fives and laps led this year. This is clearly the best four for the title this season.

FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT

When one races around each other enough, things happen and drivers never forget.

Joey Logano upset Martin Truex Jr. by bumping him out of the way on the last lap to win at Martinsville last month. Had Logano not won that day he would not have advanced to the championship race.

Logano said he was doing what he had to win that day. Asked how he’d retaliate, Truex said: “I’m just not going to let him win (the title). I’m going to win it.”

Logano and Busch have their history in this race. Busch was upset with how Logano raced him at the end of the race last year.

“He held me up,” Busch said of Logano after last year’s title race. “He was there blocking every single chance he got. Got a real buddy there.”

Of course, it was March 2017 at Las Vegas when Kyle Busch walked up to Joey Logano and threw a punch at him for a last-lap incident between the two.

Harvick bumped Busch out of the lead with seven laps to go to win at New Hampshire in July. Said Busch after the race: “I’m not sure he (Harvick) had to do it, but he did. It’s fine. How you race is how you get raced.”

MUST-WIN SITUATION

In the first four years of this format, the champion had to win the race to claim the crown.

Logano is still haunted by the 2016 race. He restarted third on the inside line behind Carl Edwards with eight laps left. Logano dived low to get by Edwards, who blocked. They made contact, triggering a multi-car crash. While Logano was able to continue, he could not get to the lead again and finished fourth.

“Every time I watch that race, I get so mad I slam my laptop closed,” Logano said. “That moment will forever be burned into my mind of how close we were to winning a championship that day, but we’ve got another opportunity to right that, so here we go.”

The streak of a champion needing to win the race at this 1.5-mile track is likely to continue. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. have combined to win 16 of the last 20 races on 1.5-mile tracks.

LAST RIDE TOGETHER

Sunday’s race marks the final race for Furniture Row Racing. The team, based in Denver, Colorado, is shutting down after this season.

Furniture Row Racing, owned by Barney Visser, made its Cup debut in 2005. The team did not compete in every Cup race until 2010. Furniture Row Racing scored its first Cup victory in 2011 when Regan Smith won the Southern 500. That was the organization’s only win until Martin Truex Jr. won in 2015 at Pocono. Truex has won 17 races with the team.

“We understand it’s here, (this) week is our last week, but it’s cool that we’re going to Homestead with a chance to win it in his last race,” Truex said.

Said Visser: “For me personally, my emotions are all over the board. I am sad not to be able to continue. I am going to miss the guys for sure, miss this whole thing. I don’t know what it’s going to feel like exactly when it’s over. And I don’t know what the emotions will be like when the Daytona 500 rolls around next year and we’re not in it. I just don’t know how emotional it will be. I am afraid it will be enormous.”

The team’s hauler left the shop late Tuesday night for its trip to Miami. It was an emotional time for the team.

“I don’t think any of us were prepared for how emotional it was (Tuesday) night when we loaded up,” crew chief Cole Pearn said. “I think we’ve just been head down, kind of pushing super hard, trying to do everything we can to get ready for this weekend, and once it was in the truck and saw the lift gate up, there was a lot of tears shed and a lot of sad faces, and I think all of us really realized that that was the last time we were going to do it together as a group.”

NEW (OLD) FACE ON THE PIT BOX

Tony Gibson, who is nicknamed “Old Man,” will be Kevin Harvick’s crew chief again this weekend in place of Rodney Childers, who was suspended the final two races by NASCAR for an infraction found on Harvick’s winning car at Texas.

That the 54-year-old Gibson is on the pit box is a story itself. He suffered a blood clot July 6.

“I was actually just driving home from work and just had a real, I just could not get my brain to function with my hands and my feet, and I could not drive any further and knew something was wrong,” Gibson said. “Just wasn’t sure, and ended up going to the emergency room and put me in for observation that night, and then about one in the morning they came back and they had done several scans and told me I had a blood clot in my vertebral artery.”

He said he was in the hospital for a little more than a week before being released. As the blood clot dissolved, it caused a mini stroke. He returned to the hospital. Gibson said he lost about 85 percent of the hearing in his left ear and most of the function in his left eye. He’s been doing rehab and returned to work Aug. 20.

Gibson has an appointment scheduled with his neurologist Friday but will miss it because he will be in Miami, leading Harvick’s team.

“I was very lucky, and I don’t take that for granted,” Gibson said. “There’s a lot of people out there that are way worse than me, so it’s just something that I’ll overcome and I’ll get used to it and go on.”

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE

There will be many changes after Sunday’s race, particularly among drivers.

Matt Kenseth does not have plans to race next season, so Sunday’s race looks to be his final Cup race.

Daniel Suarez will run his last race for Joe Gibbs Racing. He is being replaced by Martin Truex Jr. after this season. Suarez has not announced where he’ll drive next year but is expected to sign with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Kurt Busch will drive his final Cup race for Stewart-Haas Racing. His seat is expected to be filled by Suarez. Busch is expected to move to Chip Ganassi Racing and replace Jamie McMurray, who has an offer from car owner Chip Ganassi to drive in next year’s Daytona 500 before moving to a position in the front office.

Ryan Newman will run his final race for Richard Childress Racing and move to Roush Fenway Racing to drive the No. 6 car next season. Newman will be replaced by RCR Xfinity driver Daniel Hemric.

Matt DiBenedetto will drive his final race for Go Fas Racing. DiBenedetto moves to Leavine Family Racing to drive the No. 95 next year. Go Fas Racing has not announced a driver for next year.

AJ Allmendinger will drive his final race for JTG Daugherty Racing this weekend. He will be replaced by rookie Ryan Preece next season in the No. 47 car. Allmendinger has not announced plans for next year.

This also will be the final weekend seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson races with crew chief Chad Knaus. They’ve been together since Johnson’s rookie year in 2002 but will split after this season. Knaus will be the crew chief for William Byron next year. Kevin Meendering will be Johnson’s crew chief next year.

PIT CREW CHANGES

Kevin Harvick’s team announced this week that it is changing its rear tire changer.

Chris McMullen, who had been teammate Aric Almirola’s rear tire changer all season, moves to Harvick’s team this week and replaces Michael Johnson.

The move was made because Almirola was eliminated from title contention last weekend at Phoenix. McMullen becomes the team’s third rear tire changer this season. Daniel Smith had the role until health issues forced him out. Johnson took over at the Southern 500.

That’s not the only team that has made changes in the playoffs. After teammate Ryan Blaney was eliminated last month at Kansas, his jackman, Graham Stoddard, went to Joey Logano’s team.

“That group has been stellar,” crew chief Todd Gordon said of the revamped unit. “If you look at Martinsville, I would give them a fair amount of credit for putting us in position to win that race.”

Kyle Busch’s team changed fuelers before last weekend’s race at Phoenix. John Eicher moved over from Erik Jones‘ team in a temporary role. He filled in for Matthew Tyrrell, who stayed home on baby watch. Crew chief Adam Stevens said that he had not heard as of Wednesday if Tyrrell’s baby had arrived but said that Tyrrell would be in Miami with the team and resume his fueling duties.

Martin Truex Jr.’s team has had the same pit crew since Richmond, the second playoff race. Clay Robinson had been a backup front tire changer at Joe Gibbs Racing and moved over to Truex’s team, which gets its pit crew from JGR.

ONE LAST CHANCE

Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson, drivers who each won last year, have a final chance to score their first victory of this season.

Johnson has scored at least one win in 16 consecutive season, which is tied for the third-longest streak in series history (Richard Petty has the record at 18 consecutive seasons).

Hamlin has scored at least one victory in 12 consecutive seasons, which ranks 13th on the all-time Cup list.

Larson has finished runner-up six times this year but has yet to win. He’s had at least one win in each of the past two seasons.

NEW TIRE

Cup and Xfinity teams will have a new left-side tire this weekend compared to what was run in Miami last year.

The left-side tire features a construction update. It is the same left-side tire teams ran at Chicagoland in July. The multi-zone right-side tires have not changed since last year. Cup and Xfinity teams have run this combination of left- and right-side tires at Auto Club Speedway in March and at Chicagoland Speedway in July.

“Because of the high wear we see, these compounds provide the endurance and tread wear needed for Homestead’s track surface, while at the same time giving the cars enough grip,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing.

TWO OTHER CHAMPIONSHIPS AT STAKE

The Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series also will crown their champions this weekend.

The Truck series will race Friday. Former champion Johnny Sauter, Brett Moffitt, Justin Haley and Noah Gragson will compete for the title.

The Xfinity Series will race Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Daniel Hemric will compete for the crown. Custer won this race last year but was not eligible to win the championship, having been eliminated from title contention earlier in the playoffs.

The 23-year-old Bell, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, won the Truck series title last year.

Goodyear bringing new tire to Texas for Cup, Xfinity teams

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

After two tire tests this year, Goodyear will bring a different tire combination for this weekend’s races at Texas Motor Speedway.

Cup and Xfinity teams will run the same tire. This is the first time teams in either series have run the left-side tires that will be used this weekend. The right-side tires were run at Michigan.

Compared to what was run at Texas in April, the left-side tire features a construction update to bring it in line with what is run at other speedways, and the right-side tire features a compound change to introduce more wear and be more heat resistant.

This tire combination came from a tire test Aug. 14-15 with Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr.

“Texas has been a big priority for Goodyear this year after having held tests there in both January and August,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear director of racing.  “When tracks go through a repave and reconfiguration, like Texas did for 2017, it’s important to keep up with the track surface and how it changes over those first several years. When we tested in August, with the goal of introducing more tire wear on the smooth surface, we decided upon the Michigan right-side tire for the Cup and Xfinity cars. Michigan also had a repave in the recent past and this tire has done a nice job of generating tire wear there, and will be a good fit for Texas.”

Goodyear also noted in its release that Texas Motor Speedway has been “preparing the track surface for the better part of two weeks by dragging tires to lay down rubber.” The track was repaved before the 2017 spring race. This will be the fourth Cup weekend since the repave.

Set limits: Cup: 3 sets for practice, 1 set for qualifying and 10 sets for race;

Xfinity: 7 sets for the event

Tire Codes: Left-side — D-4798; Right-side — D-4796

Tire Circumference: Left-side — 2,227 mm (87.68 in.); Right-side – 2,251 mm (88.62 in.)

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front — 22 psi; Left Rear — 22 psi;

Right Front — 52 psi; Right Rear — 50 psi