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Goodyear's 17-inch race tire project is clouded by questions

   By Mike Mulhern

   FONTANA, Calif.
   More on Goodyear's proposed new 17-inch NASCAR tire:
   The October 6-7 test at Richmond International Raceway, the tire's on-track debut, after considerable computer testing, got off to a rocky start when test driver Paul Menard discovered the crew hadn't loaded his helmet and suit in the test rig, that the gear was instead on the truck heading here for Sunday's California 500.
   So Travis Kvapil made the quick flight up to Richmond to bring more gear and get the test underway, albeit late.
   Goodyear engineers at the test were enthusiastic about the two days, but apparently NASCAR officials are trying to put a muzzle on the whole thing, for some reason.
   Goodyear's Stu Grant, the head of company's racing operations, says car owner Jack Roush is in charge of the engineering effort to fit the larger 17-inch tire (and larger 11-inch-wide wheel, instead of the current 9-1/2-inch-wide wheel) under the current race car at minimum expense.
   Roush himself – who after all is right now trying to help Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards in this year's championship run – isn't enthusiastic at all about the project, calling it too expensive and unnecessary.
   One major point brought up by several crew chiefs here, about the 17-inch tire project, is that unless NASCAR puts some strict limits on brake systems with the new package, teams would get engaged in another million-dollar technological battle for bigger, more effective brakes, which the larger wheel would allow.
   Grant says Menard and Kvapil both found the larger tire having more grip and better forward bite up off the corners. But the drivers also felt the sidewalls were a little "too wormy," with too much flex. Grant says his men will be tweaking things on the new tire before the next test, which he plans for Phoenix International Raceway later this fall.
   Exactly what this entire project is all about is unclear, but Grant indicates that NASCAR may be studying some significant changes to the current car-of-tomorrow (which essentially hasn't been touched since it debuted in the spring of 2007), and he says his men are looking at the entire tire manufacturing process in Akron, to be able to build the new tires in volume for NASCAR's Cup tour.
   What might happen to the Truck and Nationwide tires-and-wheels is unclear, Grant says. Typically Cup teams buy all new wheels every year and turn the old wheels over to Truck and Nationwide teams.




DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — J.C. France, son of the president of NASCAR, grandson of the racing body's founder, and himself a Grand-Am driver, was arrested for possession of crack cocaine in the early hours of Thursday morning. France had been racing a 2007 Lamborghini across the Seabreeze Bridge here, against another man in a 2003 Porsche Cayenne, and both were arrested...

Wonder how nascar will handle bad karma this time ??

Certainly. and it was: I

Certainly. and it was: I tweeted the link to the Daytona News Journal immediately....they're on the scene. I'm in California. The facts are the facts...the story will be the reaction....which has yet to play out. But Jeremy Mayfield may well have more to say too.
Daytona paper reports J.C. France, grandson of Bill France Sr., arrested on drug charges. http://bit.ly/10obbe

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And we've been waiting

And we've been waiting outside the NASCAR hauler for 20 minutes to ask Brian France, the NASCAR CEO, some questions about all that. But he hasn't come out yet. When he says something, we'll write it for you.

Did you read Jack Flowers'

Did you read Jack Flowers' book, Mike? I thought of it when this J.C. France thing broke.



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