FORT WORTH, Tex. — Despite reservations expressed by a handful of drivers, both NASCAR and tire maker Goodyear are confident in the tires NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will have on their cars in Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Goodyear is bringing its multi-zone technology to Texas for the first time. Specifically, the right-side tires feature a more durable, heat-resistant compound on the outer shoulder and a softer, more tractive compound on the inner two-thirds of the tire.
“We feel very good about going into this weekend,” Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of race tire sales, said Friday. “Very similar to Atlanta (where the Zone Tread Technology was introduced last year), they’re known quantities.
“In fact, the harder compound of this tire is the same as we raced in Atlanta last year. The outboard compound is the same that we raced in both races here at Texas. So very known quantities. Like I said, the left side is a very known quantity, as well.”
Texas is the first high-speed track the series has visited since the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced Mar. 23 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Throughout the weekend at Fontana, drivers had problems with flat tires, particularly left rears.
But those issues generally beset teams that were testing the limits of low tire pressure and maximum camber. In the race itself, 12 drivers had flat tires. The remaining 31 drivers did not.
In his media availability last week at Martinsville, Jeff Gordon said he expected to see tire issues at Texas, too. Stucker, on the other hand, expressed confidence in the product Goodyear has provided.
“We feel very good about our recommendation here,” Stucker said. “Historically, Texas has not been a race track where we have a lot of left-side problems, to be quite honest with you. We addressed the right side, because it’s a high‑speed race track, and that’s what gets stressed tremendously here. That’s why we came with the Zone Tread tire, because it was a good solution to that.
“Really, I think, on the heels of some of the issues we saw at Fontana, people are asking the question, ‘Is there a possibility we could see the same thing?’ There’s always that possibility. People are always pushing the envelope, always trying to stress all parts of the race car. We understand that and support that. That’s what makes racing great, right?
“Historically, we haven’t seen a lot of that, so I don’t have a lot of concerns above and beyond what we would have in a normal weekend.”