Teams are gearing up for the final race of the Challenger round—their last shot to secure a top-12 spot and remain in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. Not unlike other races, winning will come down to a team’s race strategy, and track characteristics specific to Dover will influence the way drivers push their cars … and tires. Variables including the track surface and banking make Dover a distinctive and memorable track for drivers, teams and fans.
One of the more unique features of Dover’s “Monster Mile” is the track surface. It’s the only track in the Chase with a concrete surface instead of asphalt. The concrete is fast and slick, putting tire grip at a premium. However, the surface will evolve as the 400-mile race progresses.
When the race begins, the track tends to be slick. But as the laps add up, rubber from Goodyear’s Eagle NASCAR tires will start to settle into the track and help increase grip. Drivers anticipate the slippery surface at the start of the race and will drive differently as they wait for the track to “rubber in”. Once the grip increases you can expect drivers to begin running different lines on the track as they push their cars and tires more in the race to the finish.
But the surface isn’t the only factor that makes Dover unique. It also features big changes in banking which can affect performance. The Monster Mile boasts 24-degree banking in the turns and 9-degree banking on the straightaways. The resulting drop-off that cars face going into the corners is extreme, and the amount of force exerted is tough on drivers, cars and tires.
The combination of Dover’s concrete surface and this roller coaster-like ride will require both skill and strategy to make it through this battle of the Chase. And Goodyear’s selection of a tire package that is both durable and provides the right level of grip for these extreme conditions is critical in helping drivers prevail.
Look for teams to make adjustments throughout the race to generate the superior-performance needed to win in this Chase for the Sprint Cup battle in Dover.