Goodyear pleased with option tire performance during practice

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 19, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C. – Based on Friday’s opening practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the experiment with option tires for Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race (on FS1 at 6 p.m. ET) appears destined for success.

The purpose-built tires, which can be used during any of the four segments of the race are fastest at the outset, but their performance falls off more quickly than that of the prime tires Goodyear has provided, as intended.

“From what I’ve seen so far today, I think NASCAR should be really pleased with what happened this afternoon, because we ended up delivering, I think, exactly what they wanted, which was a faster tire that gave up more,” said Stu Grant, general manager of worldwide racing for Goodyear.

“It was three-tenths (of a second) faster than the prime over a 10-lap run, and it gave up three-tenths more. I think you’re going to have the comers and goers and strategy—and we’ll see what happens.”

Competitors can use the options tires in any of the first three 20-lap segments to gain track position. If they choose the option tires for the final 10-lap run, they must start from the rear, but by then the field will be pared down to 10 drivers.

One thing Goodyear didn’t anticipate was teams using the option tires during mock qualifying runs in early afternoon on Friday in an attempt to simulate cooler conditions in Friday evening’s qualifying session.

“But these guys are creative,” Grant said. “They’re really smart guys.”