Michigan tire test set

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/TheDarkKnightRises/National Guard/ Chevrolet, leads a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 17, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

SONOMA, Calif. — In response to blistering issues that prompted a Saturday switch to a harder left-side tire last weekend at Michigan, Goodyear has scheduled another tire test at the two-mile track for July 30, the Monday after the Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the tire maker confirmed to the NASCAR Wire Service on Friday.

Because the timing — namely, too tight a schedule to construct a new tire for the Aug. 19 Pure Michigan 400 — the test will be a confirmation of the tires Goodyear expects to bring to Michigan for that race.

“Because there isn’t enough time to run a ‘normal’ tire test and then build a full complement of tires for the race in mid-August, we are planning to do a ‘confirmation’ test with a large number of teams at Michigan on July 30th,” said Stu Grant, Goodyear’s general manager for worldwide racing.

“We anticipate 15 to 20 cars will participate in the test. We expect the August race set-up will be very close to what we saw last Sunday, so we have a good plan in place for the test.”

Contrary to expectations, speeds escalated throughout last weekend, with Greg Biffle posting a lap at 204.708 mph in Friday’s final practice. Goodyear announced the switch to the harder tires — a code used at Charlotte in 2006 and 2007 — that night.

Drivers qualified on the original tires on Saturday afternoon, with Marcos Ambrose winning the pole at 203.241 mph, before the switch was made, Teams got 75 minutes of practice on the Charlotte left-sides Saturday evening and raced on the new tires on Sunday.

Goodyear is still making the final determination on which tires it will confirm during the test. The rain date is July 31.

SHORT STROKES

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray will combine to drive a second Ganassi Racing entry in the Brickyard Grand Prix Grand-Am race July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Both Montoya and McMurray have competed in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, with Montoya twice a part of the winning team in a Ganassi Daytona Prototype . . . Clint Bowyer has a special “passenger” riding shotgun with him this weekend. The name of Brady Bakken, 11, of Boone, N.C., the son of one of sponsor 5-Hour Energy’s sales brokers, will replace Bowyer’s above the passenger door of the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. Bakken was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma in January. Bowyer’s 5-Hour Energy hat will feature a green ribbon — symbolic of the fight against lymphoma — with Bakken’s name underneath on the opposite side from the sponsor logo.

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