AKRON, OHIO (Friday, April 17, 2015) – With the warming temperatures around the country, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company embarks on one of its rites of spring – testing season.
The busy schedule started with a test two weeks ago -- April 7 -- at Richmond International Raceway with drivers A.J. Allmendinger, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart. Coming out of that session, Goodyear confirmed a set-up that included the same left-side tire as last fall with a new multi-zone-tread right-side tire.
“Our goal for the Richmond test was to confirm a race recommendation targeted for a grip improvement from the Fall 2014 race,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “Even though we were very happy with the way the 2014 tire laid rubber down on the racetrack and with the wear characteristics of the package, input from teams was that a bit more grip was in order. From the results of the test, we feel the new tire combination will deliver that.”
NASCAR’s official tire supplier followed that up this week – April 13-14 – with a test at Kentucky Speedway. Drivers participating in that test were Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Brett Moffitt and Ryan Newman.
“The main objective of the Kentucky test was to bring the right-side tire there in line with several of the other high-speed mile-and-a-half speedways. What we tested incorporated a different mold shape and construction from what we raced there in the past,” said Stucker. “Additionally, with the lower downforce of the 2015 rules package, we felt a left-side compound adjustment to increase grip was justified. Both those goals were met, and all drivers involved in the test felt like the new combination was a nice improvement over the package raced in 2014 and prior.”
Next up on the calendar is a trip to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 27-28. The organizations scheduled to take part are BK Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Petty Motorsports.
“The ground track surface at Indy makes it very sensitive to tire set-up,” said Stucker. “The focus of the Indy test will be to make sure we have the correct tire combination to match the new characteristics of the low downforce, low horsepower 2015 rules package. The surface of the track is very abrasive, so getting the correct compounds and constructions to generate the desired wear characteristics, while maintaining the level of grip for competitive racing, is critical.”
This season has brought a host of changes to the Sprint Cup set-up, and Goodyear has reacted to that with changes to race recommendations for three of the first eight points races.
“To date, we're happy with the way the 2015 season has gone,” said Stucker. “We feel like those adjustments we have made to tire recommendations from 2014 have been nice improvements, adding back some of the grip in a mechanical fashion to compensate for some of the grip lost through the aerodynamic downforce reduction. That will continue to be our focus in 2015 testing.”
Upcoming Goodyear test sessions include Iowa Speedway on May 5 (Xfinity Series only), Dover International Speedway on May 11-12 and Darlington Raceway on June 9-10.