Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Race No. 25 – Bojangles Southern 500
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Race No. 24 – SportClips Haircuts VFW 200
Tire Management Back in Play at Darlington: Before it was repaved for the 2008 season, the track surface at Darlington Raceway was one of the most abrasive on the NASCAR circuit. It has taken several years, but the high tire wear element of the track has returned. Fall off will be more than three seconds per lap over the course of a full fuel run.
That means tire management will be a major factor in the race, and those drivers who are easy on their tires early in a run will make up for it later. That will mean more “comers” and “goers” throughout the field and lead to more exciting racing. It also means that with 12 race sets of tires and teams pitting almost every chance they get, the team element of the sport will come more into play as pit stops will directly impact track position and, ultimately, the finishing order.
“While Darlington has hosted ‘throwback’ weekends over the past several seasons, the track surface is becoming a bit of a throwback as well,” said Greg Stucker. .”
Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series will run the same tire set-up at Darlington this weekend, the first time either of these two Goodyear tire codes will be run.
For the Cup cars, compared to last year, the primary change is to the right-side construction, which has been updated to align with what is run at other speedways.
The Xfinity cars, which ran a multi-zone tread right-side at Darlington in 2016, are on a single zone right-side that features the same compound as the one run on the outboard 10 inches last year. The left-side features a compound change to give the cars more grip vs. what was run last season. This tire set-up came out of a Goodyear test at Darlington on July 18 with drivers Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman participating.
On all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions. For Darlington the air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.
Throwback Tires: In support of Darlington’s throwback initiative, the tires run at this weekend’s races will feature different sidewall markings, a white, stencil-look design that harkens back to the 1980s.