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Does Goodyear's pick of tire testing teams put some drivers at a disadvantage? | NASCAR Racing Breaking News: Trackside Live, Every Week, Every Sprint Cup Race - MikeMulhern.net

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Does Goodyear's pick of tire testing teams put some drivers at a disadvantage?


  Jeff Burton (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)
  


   By Mike Mulhern

   Mikemulhern.net

   CONCORD, N.C.
   Jeff Burton, and he's not alone in the stock car racing garage, says NASCAR needs to change the way teams are picked for Goodyear tire testing, because this year he's felt "disadvantaged" by the current tire test policies.
   "Goodyear tire tests are a necessity…but I'm not real proud (happy) with the distribution of the tests – among manufacturers, rather than teams. I've expressed that to NASCAR; they know how I feel, they've listened to me.
   "They're looking at it for the future.
   "I think the tire testers should be randomly picked…like we do qualifying. And roll 'em out, whichever four or five cars Goodyear needs.
   "And once you've been drawn, you can't be drawn again. You just follow a rotation.
   "I think the tire tests need to be equally disbursed…other than through the manufacturers. Obviously every time there is a test there is a Jack Roush Ford there….
   "I feel disadvantaged by that.
    "It wasn't set out to be a disadvantage, but
   "Anything we can do to make it fair is always the right thing to do. So I think the tire testing (picks) should be altered.
   "The Goodyear tire testing (up till now) has always worked very fairly – I never felt before this year that I wasn't getting a real fair shake.
   "But this year, because of all the team mergers and all the things that have gone on, it changed the landscape.
   "A year ago, the tire tests didn't appear to be a problem. But as the landscape has changed so much, now the way the tire tests are doled out is a problem. So it needs to be addressed today, much more than it did a year ago."
   This season Burton has done a tire test at Texas Motor Speedway, as part of the four-team (Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota) setup. He has also participated in the mass testing at Indianapolis, which all teams were allowed to run. And he plans to run in the mass testing at Daytona in a few weeks, another test open to all teams.
    Goodyear's Rick Heinrich: "There is a great deal of effort that goes into spreading the testing opportunities among the various organizations and manufacturers. Sometimes it's a little bit difficult because of limitations we have when people can't test. But we try not to duplicate with individual owners…to make it as equal as possible.
   "We try to rotate through the garage to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity."
    NASCAR's John Darby: "At the end of each tire test, every team gets the same set of data from Goodyear. After the test, Goodyear does a CalSpan test ( http://bit.ly/3QoXOF ), and each manufacturer, each team gets the same data.
   "Now as Goodyear does tire tests, one team may get Tire A, another team gets Tire B, and another team Tire C, and the tire they bring back may have a little of all three tires in that. That's a tire test.
   "Yes, you try to get the best teams to get to the tests, so we get the best input we can and Goodyear can make the best tires….and everyone benefits. The data you get out is directly related to what data goes in."

     
    
   Goodyear officials say they have had 20 tire tests this year.
   Is there any unfair advantage on race day?
   Among the specific tests and drivers chosen:
   -- At Phoenix International Raceway, in January, for the April race, Chevy's Martin Truex Jr. (the Earnhardt-Ganassi team), Ford's Jamie McMurray (Roush), Toyota's Joey Logano (Joe Gibbs), and Dodge's AJ Allmendinger (Petty-Gillett) did the testing. (Chevy's Mark Martin, of Rick Hendrick's camp, won the race.)
   -- At Atlanta Motor Speedway, also in January, Chevy's Juan Pablo Montoya (Earnhardt-Ganassi), Ford's Greg Biffle (Roush), Toyota's Scott Speed (Red Bull), and Dodge's Sam Hornish (Penske) did the testing. (Dodge's Kurt Busch, of the Penske camp, won the race.)
   -- At Darlington Raceway, in March, Chevy's Kevin Harvick (Richard Childress), Ford's Bobby Labonte (Doug Yates/Roush), Toyota's Denny Hamlin (Gibbs), and Dodge's Elliott Sadler (Petty-Gillett) tested. (Martin won the crash-filled race.)
   -- At Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway, also in March, Chevy's Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick), Ford's Paul Menard (Yates/Roush), Toyota's Marcos Ambrose (Michael Waltrip) and Dodge's Kasey Kahne (Petty-Gillett) did the test. (Toyota's David Reutimann, of the Waltrip team, won the rain-shortened race.)
   -- At Loudon's New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in April, Chevy's Jeff Gordon (Hendrick), Ford's David Ragan (Roush), Toyota's Kyle Busch (Gibbs), and Dodge's David Stremme (Penske) did the test. (Toyota's Logano won the rain-shortened June race, Martin won the September race.)
   -- There were several preliminary tire tests at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the spring, with Dodge's Reed Sorenson and Kahne (Petty-Gillett), Chevy's Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart (Stewart-Hass), Chevy's Juan Pablo Montoya (Earnhardt-Ganassi), Chevy's Burton, Toyota's Brian Vickers (Red Bull) and Robby Gordon, and Ford's Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle (Roush), and Ford's Bill Elliott (Woods). And there was a mass test for all Cup drivers in June. (Chevy's Jimmie Johnson, apparently one of the few who didn't test at Indy, won the race, after Juan Pablo Montoya was called for speeding on pit road.)
   -- At Daytona, in May, Chevy's Martin (Hendrick) and Clint Bowyer (Childress) and Aric Almirola (Earnhardt-Ganassi), Ford's Menard (Yates/Roush), Toyota's Ambrose (Waltrip) and Speed (Red Bull), Dodge's Hornish (Penske) tested. (Chevy's Stewart, of Stewart/Hendrick, won the race.)
    -- At Bristol Motor Speedway, in July, Chevy's Casey Mears (Childress) tested. (Toyota's Kyle Busch, with Gibbs, won the August race.)
   -- At Atlanta, also in July, Chevy's Stewart (Stewart-Haas), Ford's McMurray (Roush), Toyota's Hamlin (Gibbs), and Dodge's Kurt Busch (Penske) did the test. (Dodge's Kahne, of Petty-Gillett, won the race.)
   -- At Dover, in August, Chevy's Johnson (Hendrick) and Montoya (Earnhardt-Ganassi), Ford's Ragan (Roush) and Labonte (Yates/Roush), Toyota's Kyle Busch (Gibbs) and Ambrose (Waltrip), Dodge's Allmendinger (Petty-Gillett) and Stremme (Penske) tested. (Chevy's Johnson, with Hendrick, won the race.)
   Looking ahead to next season, at Daytona, in late September, Chevy's Bowyer (Childress), Ford's Ragan (Roush), Toyota's Logano (Gibbs) and Ambrose (Waltrip), and Dodge's Keselowski (Penske) tested. And another massive test is planned in three weeks; this will likely be the only mass test allowed there before the Daytona 500.
   And there was a special Goodyear test of the proposed new, larger 17-inch tire at Richmond last week, with Roush Ford men Menard and Travis Kvapil.

   

The answer, Jeff, is to have

The answer, Jeff, is to have more than one tire company with which to do tire testing. You'll get more opportunities with Firestone and Hoosier than you will with just Goodyear.

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