Stu Grant

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Rain, rain go away – it won’t be a problem next fall at Charlotte with rain tires

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CONCORD, North Carolina — The rain that was a bane of NASCAR fans Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be anticipated next year.

While rain delayed Saturday’s Xfinity race and the threat of it moved the start of Sunday’s Cup race up an hour, rain next year won’t be as much of a problem.

With NASCAR racing on the track’s roval, rain tires will be available for both series a year from now. It’s a decision NASCAR made a couple of weeks ago, Stu Grant, general manager of worldwide racing for Goodyear, told NBC Sports.

“There was some debate about whether or not we should run rain tires on the roval because of how much you run on the bankings and the speed you may or may not have,’’ Grant said. “There was some due diligence on whether or not rain tires should be run. A lot of modeling, a lot of simulation and it looks like the speeds are going to be comparable to Watkins Glen and NASCAR has made the call, yeah, Goodyear go ahead and have rain tires available for this race a year from now.’’

The rain tires will be the same tires available at other road courses that NASCAR races.

Goodyear also will have rain tires at an Oct. 17-18 test on Charlotte’s roval with Chip Ganassi Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Furniture Row Racing.

Grant said the test procedure will be the same as other tires tests but admits this will be different since this is a new track for teams.

“The banking that you run here adds a whole different element from a car setup standpoint,’’ Grant said. “It’s different than trying to set up the car for a road course at Sonoma for example. We’re going to learn a lot about the tires and the compound necessary to come here with a good race tire, but the teams are going to learn a lot about how to set the car up properly.’’

The base tire for that test will be the tire combination that is run at Watkins Glen.

“The issue for us is to figure out what is the right compound to marry that road course construction with the asphalt on the road course and the oval pieces,’’ Grant said. “We have purpose-built a number of test tires to make sure we have the right combination.’’

One change that helped Goodyear was the addition of the chicane on the backstretch of the oval to slow cars before entering Turns 3 and 4. Cars will exit the road course portion in Turn 1 and run on the oval through Turn 2 and the backstretch before reaching the chicane.

“If you look back, the original layout, it did not have the chicane on the back,’’ Grant said. “Think about it, you come out of (Turns) 1 and 2 and all the way down the backstretch and through 3 and you can generate some pretty high speeds. It’s difficult to be able to get any kind of a comprise on the car or the tire that allows you to get through the super slow part in the road course and have the durability and the suspension settings on the car to be able to get through Turn 3 at high speeds.

“The chicane was added on the backstretch to slow the entry into 3 and allow you to run a proper road course setup on your car, a good road course tire and run rain tires.’’

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Goodyear refutes Kyle Busch’s account of Daytona crash, meets with driver at Atlanta

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HAMPTON, Ga. – Goodyear has refuted Kyle Busch’s claim that a flat tire caused his spin in the Daytona 500.

Busch blamed the crash on a rear tire that went flat and said, “You know, obviously Goodyear tires just aren’t very good at holding air.”

Goodyear general manager of worldwide racing Stu Grant said definitive video evidence showed that all four tires on Busch’s No. 18 Toyota were up when it began to spin.

Speaking before Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Grant said no cuts were found on Busch’s tires at the track or at Goodyear’s technical center and research facility in Akron, Ohio.

Technicians also analyzed broadcast video to determine that Busch’s right rear was up when the car spun. Goodyear contacted the NASCAR R&D Center for additional video to verify the left rear was up.

“In fact, their email back to us was it’s clear both tires were up when he spun,” Grant said of NASCAR’s response.

Busch’s left-rear tire apparently went flat in the crash after contact with Erik Jones.

So does Goodyear believe Busch just lost control?

“He felt something happen,” Grant said. “All I can tell you is it looks like both tires were up when he spun.”

Grant said he met Sunday morning with Busch at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“We had a good discussion,” Grant said, adding that things were “good between us and Joe Gibbs Racing. In terms of our analysis of the Daytona tires, (engineer) Rick Campbell was in constant communication with the JGR competition people.”

Busch took another shot Saturday at Goodyear when he lost the lead in the truck race because of a flat tire. Because the incident occurred on a restart after a yellow-flag pit stop, Grant theorized that Busch ran over debris.

“It was either flat when (it was mounted) or he ran over something on pit road,” Grant said. “We looked at it, and it didn’t have one green-flag lap on it.

“I would say it’s nearly impossible to destroy a tire on an out lap after a caution. You can’t do it that fast. These things are way more durable. I don’t believe that had anything to do with setup. He ran over something or there was some problem when (the crew) put it on.”