Goodyear tire test set for Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval

Goodyear tires sit at the ready for the NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Alex Slitz
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SPEEDWAY, Ind. — A Goodyear tire test is scheduled Monday and Tuesday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval layout. Three Cup Series teams are set to participate, helping Goodyear and NASCAR officials evaluate the 2.5-mile Brickyard circuit for possible inclusion in future schedules.

The test comes after this weekend’s racing on the 2.439-mile Indianapolis road-course circuit, which the Cup Series has competed on since 2021. The series previously ran on the oval configuration for 27 annual events, starting with the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994.

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Teams participating in the two-day tire test are:

  • No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford with driver Chase Briscoe
  • No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with driver Alex Bowman
  • No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with driver Ty Gibbs

The 2024 NASCAR schedule release date has not been revealed, but Elton Sawyer — NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition — acknowledged “ongoing conversations” about which Indianapolis layout will be used. “I think it’s fair to say that it’s always on the table,” Sawyer said last week about the oval configuration, in remarks made to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

If the schedule reverts to the Indy oval, Goodyear officials will want to be ready, said Greg Stucker, the tiremaker’s director of race tire sales.

“We just feel like there’s enough discussion around potentially going back to the oval in the future, let’s go ahead and take the opportunity to get on that race track in the old configuration with the Next Gen car,” Stucker told SiriusXM. “We haven’t run the Next Gen car on the oval, we’ve only run the road course.”

Sawyer said that Monday and the first half of Tuesday will be used for tire testing and that the second half of Tuesday’s session will be allotted for NASCAR competition officials to evaluate aerodynamic components for possible inclusion in future Cup Series rules packages. Six teams tried out a new splitter and additional aero adjustments July 31-Aug. 1 at Richmond Raceway, and NASCAR officials plan to use the time at Indy to collect more data and feedback.

Bowman was the highest finisher of the test participants in Sunday’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, placing fifth with Briscoe sixth and Gibbs rallying to take 12th. Of the three, only Bowman has raced a Cup Series car on the Indianapolis oval.

“I don’t know if a stock car around this place ever really feels natural, but it’s definitely going to be cool,” Bowman said, noting the venue’s role as the ancestral home of IndyCar racing. “So, excited for it. I haven’t really thought about it much, honestly. We were going to try to get some laps in the sim for it before we came here, and we kind of just decided to focus on the road-course stuff. So I don’t know what to expect, but hopefully we have a good test and learn as much as possible.”

Briscoe won the first NASCAR race on the Indy road course — the Xfinity Series’ 2020 inaugural — but the Indiana native has long held a certain reverence for the oval, which has origins dating back to 1909.

“It’s crazy to think that I’ll be one of three guys to drive this Next Gen car on the oval,” Briscoe said. “So, if we get a race on it, the significance of what the Brickyard 400 is, it’s a crown-jewel. There’s no other way to say it.”