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Another tire at Indy, but Goodyear seems no closer to finding a good tire for the Brickyard 400

Tires, tires, tires, sometimes it seems NASCAR is all about tires....(Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern


   After the fourth Goodyear tire at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ryan Newman says the tire giant is no closer to finding an adequate tire for one of NASCAR racing's biggest events, set for late July.
   Newman called the latest test "a small gain."
   But he said "The tires are still not ideal.
   "I know Goodyear is working on that.
   "Last week we got 10 laps on a set of tires; this time we ended up doing 18. Not consecutive laps but 18 total.
   "So it was a gain…but the tire life itself is still less than half a fuel run."
   Goodyear and teams usually want a set of tires to last about 100 miles, or 40 laps at the 2.5-mile Indy track.
   "It's just a tough situation," Newman conceded. "We spent the first part of the day 'cording' the tires (wearing them out down to the steel cords because that set was too soft)…then the last part of the day blistering tires (because of excessive tire heat) because they weren't wearing."
   If a tire wears properly, it will dissipate heat by shedding rubber.
   However the Indy track surface appears too abrasive.
   Newman said one problem for the testers is there were only four cars at the track, not enough to get a really good test.
   "I have confidence" the tire problems will be solved," Newman added. "It's going to be interesting to see what the track is like after May."
   The month of May of course is filled with Indy-cars laying down rubber.
   "It's just a matter of finding the right tire and right tire combination to go with that asphalt, because that asphalt is so coarse," Newman said.
   The issue, of course, is more than just finding a good enough tire. The track's annual Brickyard 400 is one of this sport's biggest events, and last summer NASCAR was forced to throw yellows every lap laps because the tires were wearing so excessively. And fans were not a bit pleased.
   "The bottom line is last year was an embarrassment for the series, and we need to redeem ourselves," Newman said.
   "We were able to make significant progress laying rubber down on the track surface at Indy during our test with just four cars this week. Having said that, we still have some work to do and some things we'd like to try to enhance overall performance and come up with the optimum tire set-up for the Brickyard 400," Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director of race tire sales, said.
   "After getting a late start to Wednesday due to more rain, we spent the first part of our session rubbering in the track. Later in the day, we had all four drivers making mid-range runs of 15-laps, with favorable wear rates and good grip levels.
   " What we're assessing right now is the best way to increase the durability while maintaining an appropriate level of grip.
   "With the limited amount of track time we've been able to squeeze in over the last two weeks because of rain, we will likely go back to IMS right after the Indianapolis 500, in preparation for our multi-car test in mid-June."
   The dates for the initial test in June are yet to be determined, while a 12-car test is scheduled to be run at the Speedway June 15-16.


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