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Sprint Cup Series


Goodyear test at Michigan includes possible '17 changes

Greg Stucker

CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams saw their time cut short this past week during a tire test at Michigan International Speedway, but Goodyear officials said the on-track time was sufficient for the tire supplier's needs.

Additionally, NASCAR officials were on hand for the May 17 session to examine the impact of recently announced rule changes for '16 and potential aerodynamic adjustments for the '17 season.

Rain around the 2-mile track delayed the start of the test, and returned later, forcing officials to end the session just after 2 p.m.

"We were able to run through our stuff pretty quickly and got some long runs in," Greg Stucker, Director of Race Tire Sales for Goodyear, said Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It was a confirmation test; we weren't going through a lot of different combinations or anything. We just confirmed that what we had taken was the right combination. Everyone was very comfortable with it.

"There was plenty of grip; it was cool, but we knew that going in. No surprises. We were real comfortable with everything."

Drivers taking part in the test were Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota), Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet), Aric Almirola (Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford) and Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet).

More cars and warmer track temperatures will be in store when teams return to the Irish Hills for the Firekeepers Casino 400, scheduled for Sunday, June 12.

"You know that going in," Stucker said. "But obviously we had to get up there at a certain time to confirm that our production is going to be OK. You don't have a choice. But you rely on a lot of history, understand how the conditions will change and you've got some of that built into your recommendation. You just have to know that going into it."

NASCAR officials gathered on-track information on a variety of spoiler, skirt, splitter and deck fin combinations under consideration for next season's package.

• This week's rule adjustments involving rear toe and the use of electric fans take downforce and side force away, moves that should give Goodyear more flexibility in tire builds.

"If anything it's going in the less grip direction," he said. "So I think it will open up the window a little bit more for the tire package rather than something that's going to make the cars faster and make it harder on tires. It's actually going in the other direction."

The rear toe adjustment, which will decrease the amount of skew (slant) in a car's setup, is in place only for this weekend's Sprint All-Star Race at this time.

• Stucker said the supplier had confirmed a tire for this year's return to Watkins Glen International following a test there on the recently repaved road course.

"Where we landed was actually the (right-side) tire that we raced at Iowa from a compound and construction perspective," he said. "It's a known quantity, which is good for us. We know the compound well. It gave us the performance we felt was where we need to be."

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