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No rest for these guys: Monday's big Goodyear tire test at Michigan

No rest for these guys: Monday's big Goodyear tire test at Michigan

Checking tires. At 210-plus, everything is a worry

   By Mike Mulhern

   The day after the Brickyard 400 was no off-day for more than two dozen NASCAR teams, who spent the morning and afternoon testing Goodyears for the upcoming August 19th Michigan 400.
   The update from Goodyear's Monday tire, from Greg Biffle: the same June compounds on right-sides and left-sides, just a bit different tread.
   "We were all fearful this tire (setup, for the Aug. 19th 400) would be really low on grip and the car would be hard to drive and it would chatter out from under us.
   "That is certainly not the case. The tire has a lot of grip. It slowed the speed downs a little bit."
    Biffle says the right-sides are the same as in June, when those tires blistered. "They just 'thinned' the tire out a little, so it doesn't get so hot.
    "And it is really the same compound on the left."
   Biffle said the shoulder temps for the tires, 295 degrees, "is well within range."
   The test was set as a confirmation for a computer design.
   Biffle had the fastest car at Michigan in June, hitting 220 mph on the straights, averaging nearly 205 mph.
   But Michigan's new Goodyears may not be the biggest worry for NASCAR championship contenders in the coming weeks, not after what they saw Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus, already blazing fast since mid-May, have stepped it up to another level.
    Ford's Biffle, Dodge's Brad Keselowski, and Toyota's Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin all expressed surprise at some of the aspects of Johnson's Chevy.
    The Brickyard cars are typically next-generation designs, prepping for the playoffs. That's how Johnson and Biffle both described theirs at least.
    "Indy was a real eye-opener for us," Biffle, third Sunday, said. Johnson, Biffle said, was strikingly strong.


   Is this thing grinning? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

    Meanwhile, NASCAR announced Monday it had approved all four 2013 Sprint Cup models as submitted by the four manufacturers.
    And that means Detroit can start producing and shipping parts to team owners.
    The next on-track testing of the 2013s could begin in the next few weeks, GM officials say.
   However GM has yet to unveil its own 2013 Cup model. It will be called the 'SS,' and will be based on a rear-wheel-drive passenger car built in Australia. Ford unveiled its 2013 in January, Dodge unveiled its 2013 in March, Toyota unveiled its 2013 in May.
     There is still no word on when NASCAR and the four manufacturers will put the 2013 Cup models out on the track together for fans to watch.

  Elliott Sadler: Not happy with NASCAR (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

     In a footnote to Sunday's 400:
     After Saturday's  two controversial green flag starts in the Nationwide 250, drivers were asking NASCAR officials a lot of questions.
     But they got no solid answers.
    The setting:
     Kasey Kahne was on the pole for the start of the 250, but Kyle Busch beat him to the line. NASCAR made a no-call; Kahne angrily complained.
     Late in the race, on the key final restart, Brad Keselowski was leading but Elliott Sadler beat him to the line. NASCAR blackflagged Sadler, who protested angrily.
     When asked Sunday morning why NASCAR didn't simply throw another yellow and have another restart -- such as is frequently done at NASCAR short-tracks like Bowman Gray Stadium -- NASCAR officials pooh-poohed the suggestion.
    Later, in the pre-race drivers meeting Jimmie Johnson himself asked that same question, without getting much of a definitive response. Sadler indicated he himself had asked just that question Saturday afternoon post-race, again without answer.
    What NASCAR officials did at that drivers meeting was somewhat bizarre -- they harangued the drivers for nearly 10 minutes about the issues.
    When it was all over, it did not appear drivers had gotten any satisfactory answers from the sanctioning body.

   Kasey Kahne: Not happy with NASCAR either. Do NASCAR officials ever concede making a mistake? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


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