NASCAR adds Saturday Cup practice
NASCAR Sprint Cup Director John Darby sent out a technical bulletin Friday evening announcing a meeting with crew chiefs for 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning at Michigan International Speedway and is adding an additional practice session later in the day.
NASCAR will be changing the left-side tires for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400. With a newly resurfaced track and drivers reaching high speeds, Goodyear officials decided to change the recommendation for the race. Teams will qualify with the tire used in practices.
Greg Biffle ran a lap of 204.708 mph during the final practice at Michigan Friday. According to a Goodyear release, “when Goodyear tested at Michigan in preparation for this race on April 3-4, the fastest average lap speed topped out in the 198-mph range. The higher speeds caused significantly higher left-side tire temperatures, which caused Goodyear to take this step.”
The new tire will have a tougher tread compound as well as a different construction and different mold shape from the ones that have been run in practice. This tire was run at Charlotte Motor Speedway after it was repaved at the end of 2005. It was run in both races at the track the following two seasons.
After that, Goodyear manufactured an additional quantity of this tire to have available for situations such as this. Therefore, this tire has been selected to once more be run on new asphalt.
Goodyear will ship enough tires from its warehouse in Cornelius, N.C., to Michigan for teams to have 10 sets of tires for the race, matching the original limit.
Teams will have additional tires available for a newly scheduled NASCAR practice that will be held following Saturday afternoon’s Nationwide Series race.
“We decided this move was best to provide quality racing here on Sunday,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of race tires. “In collecting data and speaking with drivers and crew chiefs throughout the practice days, we had two choices to make. Our first option was to make the team’s race sets available to them before practice on Friday and allow them the chance to ‘scuff’ them, in order to run them through a heat cycle to increase heat resistance. We did that, but after all the practice sessions ended on Friday, we concluded the safer option was to go to our contingency plan and bring in the 4020s.
“This code has been run before under similar track conditions and we have full confidence that it will give drivers and teams the enough grip to run a great race on Sunday, while doing so in the safest possible manner. Safety is always our No. 1 concern, and by bringing this tire here this weekend, we will accomplish that goal.”