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Drivers happy with Goodyear's tires for Michigan

July 31, 2012, Track Release, NASCAR.com



Drivers happy with Goodyear's tires for Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- A tire test at Michigan International Speedway saw fast speeds and happy drivers.

The day-long tire test allowed teams and Goodyear to check out the new tires the teams will race when the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series return in a few weeks.

Retread


During the June race weekend at Michigan, tires were praised, then tossed, then replaced, then got mixed reviews. A look at what led Goodyear to develop a new tire for the August race.

Goodyear combined the original tires from the April test with a slightly softer version of the harder tire used during the June race for the 2-mile track.

The last time drivers were at MIS, the tires were very hard, a last-minute change made when some drivers experienced blistering on their tires during practice sessions.

To avoid bringing back the same tires, Goodyear developed the new combination.

"Back in June was our first race on this new pavement. We digested everything we saw over the weekend, in practice as well as what we had in the race," said Greg Stucker, director of racing tire sales for Goodyear. "We digested that and looked at all the data, poured over all the comments we got from the teams and drivers, made our recommendation for our package coming up in August. That is why we were here [Monday] for, just confirming that."

Twenty-eight Cup teams and two Truck teams participated in the tire confirmation Monday.

MIS became NASCAR's fastest track in June. Marcos Ambrose's speed of 203.241 mph for the Quicken Loans 400 was the 11th-fastest pole-winning speed in Cup history and the first time the pole-winning speed was faster than 200 mph at a track other than Talladega or Daytona.

Though top speeds were not official, some drivers went about 210 mph on Monday. The average was about 195 mph, a little slower than during the April test and June race.

Greg Biffle thought the speeds, though slower, would lend themselves to exciting racing.

"Since the speed is down just a tiny bit, I think you will see that groove continue to widen out," Biffle said. I have even floored it down lower on the race track, and the car has some turn in it down there. I think we are going to see some good racing.

"We were all fearful that this tire 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."

Brad Keselowski, a Michigan native, agreed.

"Michigan is a lot different track with the repave, and we saw that here with the spring race. So we're all still just trying to get a grip on that, literally, and trying to figure it out," he said. "So Goodyear has us here to kind of reconfirm some things that we saw and hopefully improve the racing another notch here at Michigan International Speedway. So we're just trying to help out here as we can and also make our cars better at the same time. So it's a good process for all."