Watkins Glen International

Goodyear tire info for Roval weekend at Charlotte

Leave a comment

The final road course race of the season for both the Cup and Xfinity Series takes place this weekend on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval.

When it comes to Goodyear tires, both Cup and Xfinity teams will race on the same traditional road course rubber, but air pressure recommendations will be different than in tires used at Watkins Glen International and Sonoma Raceway.

According to a Goodyear media release, the reason is: “Those two courses are run primarily in a clockwise direction, with a majority of right-hand turns. The Roval is run counter-clockwise – including utilizing the majority of the speedway’s oval – making it primarily a left-hand course. The air pressures reflect that difference, with the right-front tire having a recommendation of two psi greater than the left-front (28 psi vs. 26 psi), because that is the corner of the car that sees the most load most of the time around the 2.28-mile course.”

Added Goodyear director of racing Greg Stucker, While the course has gone through several changes since it was first laid out in late 2017, the fact remains that we treat the Roval as a road course from a tire perspective. The Roval is definitely unique in the NASCAR world, and requires us to be aware of many factors.

Similar to other road courses, we have to bring a tire and recommend air pressures that reflect the hard braking and acceleration on and off the corners. The main difference is the use of the oval as part of the course, where loads on the right-front will be higher than any other corner of the car.”

Teams will also have wet weather tires at their disposal should conditions warrant. Cup teams are allowed two sets of “wets” for practice and qualifying and up to four sets for the race, while Xfinity teams are allowed two sets of “wets” for practice and qualifying and up to two sets for the race.

The ‘Goodyear’ and Eagle lettering on the sidewalls of the wet weather tires is white, not the standard Goodyear yellow.

Here is the information for this weekend’s tires at Charlotte’s Roval:

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials

Set limits: Cup: Three sets for practice, one set for qualifying and eight sets for the race (seven race sets plus one set transferred from qualifying or practice); Xfinity: Six sets for the event

Tire Codes (same on all four tire positions): D-4940

Tire Circumference: 2,240 mm (88.19 in.)

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front — 26 psi; Right Front — 28 psi; Left Rear — 20 psi; Right Rear — 20 psi

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ryan Blaney, Jimmie Johnson meet over beers

3 Comments

Ryan Blaney and Jimmie Johnson talked Friday night about their issues last weekend at Watkins Glen International, according to a report by RacinBoys.com.

The report states that Blaney took some beer over to Johnson’s motorhome, which was parked next to Blaney’s, and they talked.

“We talked for half an hour,” Blaney told RacinBoys.com. “I thought it ended really well. It was just a discussion, two guys talking, explaining our sides. We didn’t agree on some things, but it was agree to disagree on a few things.”

Johnson was upset with Blaney at Watkins Glen after contact spun Johnson into the tire barrier and cost him several spots and points. Johnson enters Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN) holding the final playoff spot by a tiebreaker on Ryan Newman.

Johnson went to Blaney on pit road to discuss the incident after the race last weekend. Johnson later told NBCSN: “I couldn’t hear what (Blaney) was saying, his lips were quivering so bad that he can’t even speak. I guess he was nervous or scared or both, I don’t know what the hell the problem is.”

Those comments angered Blaney and he did not reach out to Johnson during the week. Johnson was upset about that Friday at Michigan. Blaney countered how he had lost respect for Johnson’s TV interview about him.

“Some things, we’re not going to agree upon but it was just nice to talk it out,” Blaney told RacinBoys.com. “I kind of just wanted to say we talked and we’re fine.”

 

 

Kyle Busch discusses Watkins Glen incidents with Bubba Wallace, William Byron

2 Comments

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Kyle Busch admits it was “surprising” that the two drivers he had issues with last week at Watkins Glen International were those who raced for his Truck Series team early in their careers.

Busch had confrontations on the track with Bubba Wallace and William Byron at the Glen. Wallace drove for Busch’s Truck team in 2013-14, Byron drove for Busch’s Truck team in 2016.

“I would say it’s kind of surprising, I guess, that you get into with two former drivers because, I guess, you would kind of expect a little bit more or different from them than you would say some other competitors out there,” Busch said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “I guess I just didn’t quite get that. Overall, as far as conversations went … was better understanding between the both of them. Move forward.”

MORE: Ryan Blaney upset by Jimmie Johnson’s comments in TV interview 

MORE: Anger building in NASCAR’s season of rage

Said Wallace of his meeting with Busch: “We both agreed to disagree on what led up to those events and what happened and obviously frustrations were high.”

“We had a good conversation. We were kind of pissed off with each other. I’d say something and piss him off and vice versa but at the end of the day we shook hands and it was over with. He finished 11th (at Watkins Glen), I’m not a threat to him. But at the same time I’ve still got to get my respect.”

Busch said that issues with Wallace began before Watkins Glen.

“There were two other races prior to that one that had kind of built up to the backstretch,”  Busch said. “I set up my pass on him for the inner loop back in Turn 2, got a run on him through 2, got a run on him through 3. He messed up Turn 3 pretty bad and I was on him and actually to his outside through Turn 4 and he didn’t know I was there and he ran me off in the dirt off Turn 4. I had to get off the gas.

“And so I figured the next time I get to him, If I get him and I’m alongside him or not and he comes over and chops my nose, it is what it is. That’s what happened in the carousel. Did I mean to crash him? No. I didn’t mean to crash him. Did I mean to move him? Sure. It escalated from there.”

Busch was upset with Byron after spinning on Lap 2 as he tried to pass Byron.

“He came down and chopped and hit me in my left front, which just spun me out,” Busch said. “Yes, I think it was avoidable.”

“If you look at lap 3, (Martin Truex Jr.) was passing (Kyle Larson) getting into Turn 1 and (Larson) gave a car width and half of room and everything was fine. And if you fast forward again to Lap 13 and (Truex) was passing (Byron) the exact same way I was getting into Turn 1 and (Byron) broke hard enough to where he got behind (Truex) before they got to the corner and made the corner single file. There’s different things at different times. Now, if it was the last lap, I would have expected him to do exactly what he did. Lap 2, you expect different I guess.”

Said Byron about the incident: “We got a chance to talk, and obviously I have a lot of respect for Kyle, having driven for him and winning the races that we did. That year in 2016 was a big deal for my career. But as far as racing goes, I felt like I gave enough room. He feels like I didn’t give enough room. Obviously, it’s just racing. Stuff like that happens and you learn from it. I learned a little bit about Turn 1 and what maybe I could have done differently. Hopefully he learns a little bit too.”

Byron retaliated by running into the back of Busch’s car under caution after crew chief Chad Knaus told him to do so on the radio. Busch saw Byron coming and hit the brakes, causing Byron to ram into the back of Busch’s car harder and damaging Byron’s car.

“I mean ultimately I’m driving the race car and have got to make good decisions,” Byron said of what Knaus told him to do. “If he tells me something to do, I ultimately make the decision. It’s up to me, obviously it’s my space and everything. I felt like I was done a little wrong and that’s kind of how I handled it. Unfortunately, it cost me a lot more so I learned from that for sure.”

For Byron, this is his second high-profile incident this summer with a veteran driver. Brad Keselowski wrecked Byron in practice at Daytona when Byron came down to block. So does Byron feel as if he’s being picked on veteran drivers?

“I feel like there is a way it could be handled and not, I guess, be taken out quite so much on me with the brake check and the (Daytona) practice crash,” Byron said. “I don’t know. They’re racing me how they feel I need to be raced. I race them as well.”

Ryan Blaney upset by Jimmie Johnson’s comments in TV interview

12 Comments

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Ryan Blaney said he could handle Jimmie Johnson approaching him after last weekend’s race to discuss their incident at Watkins Glen and could handle having Johnson “chew my ass out for two minutes” but what Johnson said in an interview on NBCSN crossed a line for Blaney.

In the interview, Johnson said: “I couldn’t hear what (Blaney) was saying, his lips were quivering so bad that he can’t even speak. I guess he was nervous or scared or both, I don’t know what the hell the problem is.”

Blaney said Friday that those comments “really pissed me off.”

MORE: Anger building in NASCAR’s season of rage 

Blaney later called Johnson’s TV comments a “cowardly move of saying I’m quivering and shaking and scared of him when we’re just sitting there talking about it and I’m letting him say what he wants to say and I’m saying things back to him.”

The two drivers have not talked since.

“For him to say what he said after we got done talking, that pretty much solidified that respect has dwindled down a lot,” Blaney said at Michigan International Speedway. “Obviously that respect doesn’t go both ways. It showed he has no respect for me.”

Johnson expressed disappointment Friday that Blaney had not reached out to him since the incident.

“I have learned more about Ryan’s point of view through reading articles than I have out of his mouth,” Johnson said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “That part bothers me. That’s pretty sad.”

Johnson was upset with Blaney after contact that wrecked Johnson and cost him several spots. Johnson said Friday that part of his anger was because he needs all the possible points to make the playoffs. Johnson holds the final playoff spot by a tiebreaker over Ryan Newman entering Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Johnson went to Blaney after the race and had a conversation.

“When I went to talk to him after the race, at some point he said he felt bad but I never heard ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to,’ nothing that would make me think that he didn’t care if it happened,” Johnson said. “That aspect only confirmed the way I felt in the car. I thought I would get a call from him during the week just the friendship that we have had, the amount of respect that I thought we had for one another, and I didn’t.”

Johnson said he would have handled the situation differently if he was in Blaney’s situation.

“If I was in his shoes and saw that, I would realize that I didn’t say enough and I respect that guy and I need to follow up with him and talk to him during the week,” Johnson said. “That’s how I would have responded.

They are likely to meet at some point this weekend. Their motorhomes are parked next to each other in the drivers lot at Michigan.

“If we run into to each other in the bus lot or around the garage or something yea, we’re going to talk,” Blaney said, “but I’m not going to go out of my way to reach out to him and call him on the phone when we’ve already talked after the race. He expects an apology from me. That’s just out of line. There’s just no need for me to do that.

“We talked after the race. There’s no need for me to keep going back to it like a hungry dog, I’m so sorry and get on my knees and beg for his forgiveness. That’s just not how it is. It’s not what happened.”

Friday 5: Anger building during NASCAR’s season of rage

1 Comment

Call this NASCAR’s season of rage: Drivers sniping, fussing and even a few fighting.

The anger was evident last weekend at Watkins Glen International. A seven-time champion ridiculed a competitor in an interview on NBCSN. A young driver’s expletive-laced comments explained why he spun a former champion.

The confrontations and cross words are not surprising in a season that might best be described with an angry face emoji.

The Cup Series is going though a transition. A new rules package is meant to excite current fans, coax new fans and create tight racing that can lead to clashes on and off the track. While the new rules have enhanced racing at 1.5-mile tracks, drivers say that passing remains a challenge. Thus blocking, once a tactic found primarily at Daytona and Talladega, has become commonplace. So have the conflicts.

There’s also a battle between veteran drivers and the next generation. The last few years have seen many veterans leave, and several new drivers arrive. Seventeen of the 40 starters in the Daytona 500 three years ago are no longer full-time Cup drivers, a list that includes Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. One driver who missed that race with an injury was Tony Stewart. He returned nine races into the year for what was his final Cup season.

Mix blocking with a generational gap in how to race, and one gets a mercurial situation. Add the pressure to make the playoffs and simply stand back because somebody is about to lose their cool.

So there was Jimmie Johnson, who holds the final playoff spot entering Sunday’s race at Michigan International Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN), confronting Ryan Blaney last weekend at Watkins Glen after Blaney’s contact spun Johnson. After their talk, Johnson told NBCSN that “I couldn’t hear what (Blaney) was saying, his lips were quivering so bad that he can’t even speak. I guess he was nervous or scared or both. I don’t know what the hell the problem is.”

Farther up pit road, Bubba Wallace said he wasn’t backing down. He turned Kyle Busch — Wallace’s former boss when Wallace ran in the Truck series — in retaliation for contact that sent Wallace into a tire barrier.

“I’m going to get my respect on the track, and I don’t care who it is,” Wallace said. “That’s for when guys fail to think about the young guys, I guess, or with me.

“I won’t put up with no shit. So I flat out wrecked his ass back.”

These disagreements have been going on throughout the season. It’s just that they’ve become more common lately.

Ryan Newman said he had a discussion with Blaney about blocking after a couple of incidents at Charlotte. Newman says blocking is not racing and he doesn’t do it.

“You don’t change the way that you enter a corner to choke somebody off knowing that it’s going to slow you down,” Newman said. “You, as a racer, are supposed to go out there and race as hard as you can to try to catch the guy in front of you, not let the guy behind you stay behind you.”

As for his discussion with Blaney, Newman said he told the fourth-year Cup driver: “The next time you do that, it’s not going to be good for you. That’s not the way I race. You want to block me, it’s not going to be good.’ I don’t mean it as a threat. I’m just telling him that’s the fact of it.”

Blocking was an issue Clint Bowyer had at the end of the Kansas race with Erik Jones in May. Jones, who is in his third full season, moved multiple lanes to block Bowyer’s charge and then drifted up to keep Bowyer behind.

“I had a huge run on both those guys but that kid, I guess he was willing to wreck himself to hold the position,” Bowyer said of Jones that night.

There have been other cases of veterans trying to lay down the law with a younger driver. After declaring last year he wasn’t going let off the gas when he was blocked because he had been wrecked from behind doing so, Brad Keselowski delivered “a message” at Daytona in July. He turned William Byron when Byron blocked him in practice.

“It would have been, I feel like, more professional to come talk to me about what was wrong instead of tearing up a race car and make my guys have to bring out a backup and have to work all the way through last night and show up early this morning and have to work even more,” Byron said the day after the incident. “I don’t think that’s the way to handle it. That’s kind of the unnecessary part for me that I don’t appreciate.”

It hasn’t just been veterans and young drivers having issues. Bowyer and Newman had contact after the All-Star Race that spun Bowyer. After exiting his car, Bowyer, ran to Newman’s and started punching Newman as he sat in his car.

Even young guys have been upset with one another. Alex Bowman was not happy with Joey Logano‘s driving at Charlotte, saying Logano “about crashed us in practice and then he drove into Turn 1 and tried to turn us (in the 600). I like Joey a lot. It is what it is. We’re all racing hard. I’m not super mad about it, I just thought it was dumb, that’s all.”

Asked about how drivers are racing each other, Bowman said: “Everybody has to race everybody hard with this package. There’s not a lot of room for give and take. I thought the situation was, there was a good chunk of the race left, it was pretty unnecessary. Probably wouldn’t have been as mad as I was about it if (Logano) didn’t about crash us in practice, which I thought was really unnecessary.

“It’s all good, and he’ll get his for sure.”

Bowman, who has a victory this season, doesn’t face the pressure to make the playoffs that Johnson does. Johnson, who has never failed to qualify for NASCAR’s postseason since it debuted in 2004, holds the final playoff spot by only a tiebreaker on Newman with four races left in the regular season. Earlier this month, Johnson’s team changed crew chiefs in the middle of the season for the first time in his career.

Johnson and Newman trail Bowyer by 12 points. Bowyer is trying to make the playoffs while he doesn’t have a contract for next season. Daniel Suarez, who has had run-ins with Michael McDowell (ISM Raceway) and Wallace (Pocono), is 23 points behind Johnson and Newman.

The tension is only going to increase in the Cup garage.

2. Life on the playoff bubble

Alex Bowman understands the pressure of trying to make the playoffs. A year ago, he held the final playoff spot with four races to go. He made the playoffs, but he admits to the anxiety he felt, something he doesn’t have to worry about with his win at Chicagoland Speedway qualifying him for a chance at the title this year.

“It’s definitely tough,” Bowman said of the pressure last year. “It’s not a lot of fun. It’s a lot of stress and a lot of pressure. It really wasn’t that bad last year until we got to Indy (for the regular-season finale), and we crashed pretty early, and we were kind of riding around just trying to finish. And I could see that Jamie McMurray was pretty close to the front, and, I’m like trying to look past 30 cars on restarts and see where everybody’s at. So, that was really stressful.”

3. Quest for tires that wear

NASCAR and drivers have made it clear that they seek a tire that wears more and that’s something Goodyear is looking to deliver.

When it comes to tires, no secret that we want more wear, especially on the short tracks, and that’s the goal,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, said earlier this week on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We’re going to work closely with Goodyear to get that. We think that’s a huge component of what goes into a race. The more we can deliver on that, that’s where the drivers want to see us go, and we’re going to push hard to do that.”

Case in point was a recent tire test at Martinsville Speedway.

“I think the main deal for that tire test was finding a left rear (tire) that fell off,” said Ryan Blaney, who took part in the test. “We ran through a bunch of different sets and combinations and things like that. Some were better than others. I don’t know what we’re coming back there with.”

Paul Menard, who also participated in the test, likes the idea of a tire that wears more.

“I think that Goodyear kind of sees that and is making a push to maybe be more aggressive to give us a softer compound that wears out more,” he said.

4. Winning again

Chase Elliott‘s win last weekend at Watkins Glen International gave Chevrolet four wins in the last six races: Alex Bowman (Chicagoland Speedway), Justin Haley (Daytona), Kurt Busch (Kentucky) and Elliott.

Chevrolet drivers had won only four of the previous 51 races before this recent streak.

5. Racing is in their blood

While Sterling Marlin looks to return to racing Saturday night at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville after brain surgery, another former Cup driver will be racing Saturday night for the first time at Bowman Gray Stadium.

Bobby Labonte will get his first taste of “The Madhouse” in his first career modified race.

“The modified races there are really competitive, and the teams and drivers are serious and talented,” Labonte said in a media release. ” I am sure they will make it tough on me, but I am looking forward to strapping on my helmet and giving them a run.”