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Indy's Brickyard 400 tires worry Jimmie Johnson


Jimmie Johnson has a lot on his plate right now, after bad runs at Talladega (30th) and Richmond (36th) (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Jimmie Johnson, the man who won last year's ill-fated Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, says he's getting worried about this year's summer race at one of the world's most famous tracks, considering all the problems Goodyear has been having in its tests lately.
   Teams, and Goodyear, prefer for a set of tires to run at least 100 miles before needing changing. But at last year's 400 tires went barely 25 miles before wearing down to the cords. And in this year's Indy tests tires are barely lasting 45 miles.
    What's the problem?
    "I hear it's been challenging again this year," Johnson frets.
    "I thought that at the end of last year they (Goodyear) found some stuff that was working well and we were going to be all right.
    "The latest tests I've heard have been challenging.
     "The track is taking rubber, and the tire is laying rubber (which didn't happen at Indy last year). But we still have a short window of laps.
    "I think if the weather is perfect, from what I've heard, it sounds like we'll be okay.
    "But if there's a threat of race and the track is green (with rubber washed of) come race day morning, then we could have some issues again.
    "That track, even Indy-cars go there and struggle until they get enough rubber down.
     "I think that we can certainly work harder on the tires. Our cars have changed (with the new car-of-tomorrow, which puts increased strain on right-side tires), and last year that all came together for the perfect storm, and created a lot of problems.
    "But at some point we've got to look at the surface.
    "Not saying we haven't exhausted all avenues on the tires and the cars, but that place is very abrasive. It doesn’t matter what type of vehicle is on it.
   "The F1 cars when they went there they had their issue.
    "The track, for whatever reason, just creates those issues."
   Greg Biffle says Indy surface is grooved "like a comb," and that may be the issue. "It's grooved, to create adhesion," Biffle says. "But it looks like Goodyear is having trouble finding a tire to mate to that surface."
  Perhaps, then, Indy boss Tony George might need to 'shave' the surface smoother.

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