Team Penske has multiple tire issues in Saturday practices
Final practice was anything but ‘Happy Hour’ for Team Penske, as the organization’s two cars suffered multiple tire failures over the course of the session.
In the opening minutes of the session, Brad Keselowski slowed with a flat left rear tire, which brought out the red flag as he was pushed back to the garage. The issues were far from over, however.
With only 15 minutes remaining in the final session of the weekend, Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano suffered another tire failure and hit the outside wall. As a result, the team was forced to pull out the backup car and give up their seventh-place starting spot for Sunday’s race.
According to Logano and Team Penske competition director Travis Geisler, Goodyear officials seemed to believe the issues was a result of low air pressures and increased camber, not a problem with the tire.
In all, the Team Penske cars had five tire failures over the course of the two practice sessions.
Goodyear’s Director of Race Tire Sales Greg Stucker said the left-rear tire problems were caused by a combination of too-low air pressure and too much camber in the left rear. And those two factors put too much load on the tires.
"It’s not a lack of grip and it’s not a wear situation, it’s a load situation," said Stucker. "The tire needs air to support that kind of load, so they’re just trying to get as much grip as they can with taking the air pressure down."
The Team Penske cars were not the only ones to have tire failures in practice, though. Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch also slowed with flat tires, but were able to avoid any contact with the wall.
In Saturday’s first practice session, Martin Truex Jr. cut a left rear tire and made hard contact with the outside wall. The driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet was also forced to a backup car as a result of the contact.