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Goodyear tire info for Michigan (Cup, Xfinity) and Texas (Truck)

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For the second consecutive week, Goodyear rubber will get another high-speed workout in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Cup race and Saturday’s LTi Printing 250 Xfinity race at the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway.

Meanwhile, the Gander Outdoors Truck Series will visit another high-speed track, the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, in Friday night’s SpeedyCash.com 400.

Here’s how this weekend’s tire notes shapes up at both tracks:

According to this week’s Goodyear media release about racing at Michigan, “Recent Monster Energy NASCAR Cup races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway – where passes for the lead and passing in general were up – have the NASCAR world excited about what we might see at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. With this current Cup rules package, corner speeds will be up at Michigan and tight racing throughout the field should be the order of the day. The track is still relatively smooth since it was resurfaced in 2012 so Goodyear’s tire set-up at Michigan is now aligned with what is run at another recent repave in Texas Motor Speedway.”

Added Goodyear director of racing Greg Stucker, With Michigan being a relatively recent repave, combined with the 2019 Cup rules package and drivers expected to be on the throttle all the way through the corners, we always have to be cognizant of tire heat. We combat that with the tread compounds we bring to tracks with smooth surfaces, as well as the gage or thickness of that tread that allows the tire to dissipate heat. Overall, this weekend could be a good show for the fans if it is anything like some other recent events where corner speeds have been up and there has been a lot of tight racing and passing.”

Here’s the Cup and Xfinity tire info for Michigan:

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials for both Cup and Xfinity.

Set limits: Cup: Three sets for practice, one set for qualifying and seven sets for the race; Xfinity: six 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 — 54 psi; Right Rear — 50 psi

Notes for Cup and Xfinity: Teams in both the Cup and Xfinity Series will run the same tire set-up at Michigan this weekend. This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that these teams ran at Texas in March. Cup and Xfinity teams ran this same right-side tire code at Michigan in 2018. This is a different left-side than what was run on this track last year, featuring a construction change to align with other speedways. Air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.

Here’s the Trucks tire info for Texas:

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials

Set limits: Truck: Six 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 — 24 psi; Left Rear — 22 psi; Right Front — 52 psi; Right Rear — 50 psi

Notes for Trucks: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Gander Outdoors Trucks teams ran at Texas in March. Truck teams will run this same right-side tire code at Kansas next week and this complete tire set-up at Kentucky in July. As on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Texas. Air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.

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Bump & Run: Recounting most memorable Cup races

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What are the two or three most memorable NASCAR races you attended?

Nate Ryan: June 21, 1997, California Speedway: New NASCAR sensation Jeff Gordon christens Roger Penske’s new racing palace with a victory in its inaugural race weekend that also was the first Cup experience for many in attendance (including this writer). July 7, 2001, Daytona International Speedway: In one of the most feel-good moments in NASCAR history, Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins the first Cup race held at the track since his father’s death there five months earlier. Aug. 7, 2005, Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Tony Stewart finally breaks through at the hometown track that tormented him for a decade, climbing the fence after a Brickyard victory that became the signature moment of his second championship season. 

Dustin Long: The inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indy in 1994 with that massive crowd, Dale Earnhardt trying to lead that opening lap, the Bodine brothers brouhaha and Jeff Gordon winning it. The October 2000 Talladega race that Earnhardt rallied from 18th with five laps left to win. July 2001 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the first Cup race at Daytona after his father’s death.

Daniel McFadin: My first NASCAR race ever in 1997 with the inaugural Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway when I was 6. Flash forward to 2011 for my first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I witnessed Paul Menard‘s surprise Brickyard 400 win over Jeff Gordon. But as an adult, the most exciting race I’ve ever attended was last year’s inaugural Cup event on the Charlotte Roval. The final lap is one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen and probably will see in the near future.

Jerry Bonkowski: The 1988 Checker 500 at the then-Phoenix International Raceway. It was Alan Kulwicki’s first career Winston Cup win and he celebrated by performing the first-ever “Polish Victory Lap,” where he drove in the opposite direction around the 1-mile track before going on to victory lane. The 1994 Brickyard 400. It was near-magical with a sellout crowd watching the first time NASCAR had ever raced upon the greatest racetrack in the world. The 2011 Ford 400. Tony Stewart won the race and captured his third career NASCAR Cup championship. But after the race was the most surreal setting I’ve ever seen in racing. As Stewart celebrated his win, it was also announced that crew chief Darian Grubb was being fired. It was such an awkward scene, but to Grubb’s credit, he handled it like the true pro he is, answering all questions — even the ones that involved his firing.

 

Talladega, Dover, Kansas, All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 are the next five Cup events. What will you be watching for in this next stretch?

Nate Ryan: Whether the Gibbs-Penske stranglehold is broken.

Dustin Long: What team or teams can get to victory lane that don’t run for Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske. Can Kyle Larson shake his poor start and be a factor? Also will be curious to see how the package fares in these races, particularly the 1.5-mile tracks. 

Daniel McFadin: I’m interested to see how the rules package performs at Charlotte a year after its early draft was introduced in the All-Star Race. This package was introduced to improve competition on 1.5-mile tracks, with Charlotte being one of the main culprits. The All-Star Race and the Coke 600 will be the most significant tests for the package yet for me.

Jerry Bonkowski: Whether teams that have struggled or haven’t enjoyed better overall success in the first quarter of the season start to rebound. Will we see upward movement in the standings and better performance from guys like Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon, Daniel Hemric, Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Newman and others? To me, the key race will be the 600. If teams that have struggled up to now don’t start turning things around by the Memorial Day weekend race, will their seasons essentially be lost by then?

 

Talladega is Dash 4 Cash race in the Xfinity Series. Drivers earning Cup points are barred from competing in 12 of 33 Xfinity races (Dash 4 Cash races and final eight races of the year). Is that enough?

Nate Ryan: Too many. Would prefer to see the trend toward restricting lower-level starts be reversed. 

Dustin Long: Don’t need to further bar drivers scoring Cup points from any other Xfinity races.

Daniel McFadin: I’m for limiting Cup drivers as much as possible in Xfinity, but the 12 races overall is reasonable given the significance of those races. Only alteration I’d propose: Outside those races, Cup drivers with more than five years of experience can’t compete in consecutive races.

Jerry Bonkowski: Given that Cup regulars with more than five years of full-time experience in the series are even more restricted — to just seven starts per season in the Xfinity Series — yes, I feel that’s enough. Cup drivers doing any more than seven Xfinity starts — not including Cup regulars with less than five years of full-time Cup experience — would water down the chance for the Xfinity regulars to shine on their own.

 

Goodyear tire info for Richmond Raceway

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NASCAR makes its first visit of the season to Richmond Raceway this weekend, and with it will come a new set of Goodyear Eagle Intermediate Radials in both Cup and Xfinity.

Teams in both series will run the same tire set-up, making Richmond the only track at which both series will run the two distinct Goodyear tire codes.

Richmond is currently one of the more high tire wear race tracks on the NASCAR circuit,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing in a media release. “While we’ve seen a little less wear with this new, higher downforce rules package than we’ve had over the past few years, tracks like Atlanta and Fontana and Richmond still wear tires.

“The tires this weekend feature the same compounds we’ve been running at Richmond for the past several seasons, and being able to lay rubber on this track creates multiple racing grooves and more side-by-side racing as drivers move around to find the fastest line.

Compared to what was run at Richmond last year, both the left-side and right-side tires feature construction updates. As on most NASCAR ovals of one mile or less in length, liners will not be used in tires at Richmond.

Also, tires at Richmond will have more stagger (difference in height between the shorter left-side tire and the taller right-side tire) built into the tire set-up.

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

Set limits – Cup: Three sets for practice, one set for qualifying and 10 sets for the race (nine race sets plus one set transferred from qualifying or practice); Xfinity: six sets for the event.

Tire Codes: Left-side – D-4874; Right-side – D-4876

Tire Circumference: Left-side — 2,214 mm (87.17 in.); Right-side – 2,244 mm (88.35 in.)

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front – 12 psi; Left Rear – 12 psi; Right Front – 30 psi; Right Rear – 27 psi

Friday schedule at Bristol Motor Speedway

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As Dale Earnhardt Jr. loves to say, “It’s Bristol, baby,” and the big race weekend starts today at the legendary Bristol Motor Speedway.

Both Cup and Xfinity Series teams will be in action on the .533-mile track.

Here is today’s schedule, including TV and radio info:

(All times are Eastern)

10 a.m. – 8 p.m. – Cup garage open

11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

1:35 – 2:25 p.m. – Cup practice (No TV, NASCAR.com)

3:05 – 3:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (Fox Sports 1)

5:05 – 5:55 – Final Xfinity practice (FS1)

6:10 p.m. – Cup qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Questions and answers about the 2020 Cup schedule

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NASCAR’s 2020 Cup schedule created much for fans and competitors to discuss Tuesday.

A new championship race. A doubleheader weekend. Iconic tracks changing dates and three playoff cutoff races that could be brutal.

Here are answers to some of the questions from the schedule reveal.

Why is the championship race moving from Homestead-Miami Speedway to ISM Raceway?

Homestead-Miami Speedway provides arguably the best racing at a 1.5-mile track. Leaving it as the title race could leave a void.

ISM Raceway is a tight 1-mile track where passing can be difficult — although Kyle Larson showed earlier this month that one can gain several spots on a restart if they’re willing to use the high line after a restart.

So why the move indeed?

“Going to the same tracks year in and year out could potentially favor certain drivers,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, in a conference call with the media. “We wanted to take a look if we had the opportunity to go to another venue, what would that be.”

It also didn’t hurt that Ford’s contract as the sponsor of the championship weekend in Miami ends after this season, making a move easier.

And International Speedway Corp. spent about $180 million renovating ISM Raceway. When you have something shiny and new, you want to show it off. The championship race is one of the best chances to do so.

How long will the championship race be at ISM Raceway?

O’Donnell said: “I think our hope would be to stay there for a little while. I think with any venue you want to see it have a chance and grow a little bit and see how it works. … This wasn’t a decision we said, ‘hey let’s just go there for a year and rotate it. Our intention is to stay there a few years.”

Mike Helton, NASCAR vice chairman, said at ISM Raceway that “we are only talking about 2020 right now. What the future holds, we’ll see.”

Joey Logano voiced his desire for moving the title race around, saying on the NASCAR.com show after the schedule was revealed: “I kind of like that (the title race) has moved. I think it we should move it every year like the Super Bowl.”

Who does this move favor if they make it to the championship race?

Kyle Busch. He has won the past two races there and has an average finish of 2.9 there since 2016. If NASCAR keeps the title race at ISM Raceway for a few years, Busch could be the one who benefits the most. He has made it to the championship finale each of the past four years.

Kevin Harvick has a track-record nine wins there but he will be 44 next year when the finale is there, so he will likely have few opportunities to turn that success into another title.

Of course, the key is making it to the championship race.

How much more difficult did it get to advance in the playoffs?

It could be significantly harder. The cutoff races in next year’s playoffs will be Bristol (round one), Charlotte Roval (round two) and Martinsville (round three).

NASCAR has two shorts tracks and the Roval as cutoff races. That makes it easier for drivers to beat and bang should they need to do so for the win to advance or to gain a position and score enough points to advance. When drivers make contact, anything can happen.

Why a doubleheader at Pocono?

O’Donnell said that NBC had expressed interest in such a concept. The Pocono races will be held during the portion of the season NBC and NBCSN broadcast the races.

O’Donnell said NASCAR talked to “a number” of tracks about it and Pocono was willing to do it.

What about those races?

Details are to be worked out. O’Donnell noted that the Xfinity and Truck series will also be there with a plan of a Truck/Cup doubleheader on Saturday (June 27) and Xfinity/Cup doubleheader on Sunday (June 28). Oh, ARCA also is expected to be there, so there will be a lot of racing crammed into the weekend. Let’s hope for good weather.

“I think it’s neat, to see two back-to-back races at Pocono,” Ryan Blaney said on the NASCAR.com show. “That’s going to be really exciting.”

Why did Daytona move off its traditional spot of being on or near July 4 to being the regular-season finale on Aug. 29?

O’Donnell said those in the sport wanted to make it the regular-season finale, adding drama to the last race.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway takes over Daytona’s date. But what about the heat there?

IMS officials noted the cooler temperatures for the fans when the track’s date switched from July to September last year.

As for the issue about heat, O’Donnell said: “I think it’s hot in Daytona on July 4th. A bit of a myth to say it’s hot in a certain market.”

Why is the Clash still on its own weekend a week before the Daytona 500 and why is the All-Star Race still on a weekend of its own?

O’Donnell said that NBC, which broadcasts the last 20 races of the season, wanted to end on Veteran’s Day weekend in November. With the back-to-back off weekends in August because of NBC’s airing of the Summer Olympics, it didn’t make sense to truncate the Daytona or All Star/Coca-Cola 600 schedule.

When are the 2020 Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck schedules coming out?

O’Donnell said he hoped those could be released in the next week or so.

What about the 2021 schedule?

O’Donnell said: “I think some of the moves were made (this year) thinking ahead. We still have a lot to look at for 2021.”

The five-year sanctioning agreements NASCAR has with tracks ends after the 2020 season. That means NASCAR could change what tracks are on the schedule.

What about the future of the All-Star Race?

O’Donnell was asked if that event could be put on a rotating basis at some point. He said: “If we’re going to do that, we need to make sure it works for both Charlotte and a potential new venue.  That is something we’ve had discussions on. … Still a little premature for 2021.”

 

2020 NASCAR Cup Schedule

DATE

RACE/TRACK

Sunday, Feb. 9

The Clash

Thursday, Feb. 13

Duel at Daytona

Sunday, Feb. 16

Daytona 500

Sunday, Feb. 23

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday, March 1

Auto Club Speedway

Sunday, March 8

ISM Raceway

Sunday, March 15

Atlanta Motor Speedway

Sunday, March 22

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Sunday, March 29

Texas Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 5

Bristol Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 19

Richmond Raceway

Sunday, April 26

Talladega Superspeedway

Sunday, May 3

Dover International Speedway

Saturday, May 9

Martinsville Speedway

Saturday, May 16

All-Star Race, Charlotte

Sunday, May 24

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sunday, May 31

Kansas Speedway

Sunday, June 7

Michigan International Speedway

Sunday, June 14

Sonoma Raceway

Sunday, June 21

Chicagoland Speedway

Saturday, June 27

Pocono Raceway

Sunday June 28

Pocono Raceway

Sunday July 5

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Saturday July 11

Kentucky Speedway

Sunday, July 19

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 9

Michigan International Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 16

Watkins Glen International

Sunday, Aug. 23

Dover International Speedway

Saturday, Aug. 29

Daytona International Speedway

PLAYOFFS BEGIN

Sunday, Sept. 6

Darlington Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 12

Richmond Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 19

Bristol Motor Speedway

Sunday, Sept. 27

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 4

Talladega Superspeedway

Sunday, Oct. 11

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 18

Kansas Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 25

Texas Motor Speedway

Sunday, Nov. 1

Martinsville Speedway

Sunday, Nov. 8

ISM Raceway

Jerry Bonkowski contributed to this report