Goodyear Completes Tests At Pocono, Indianapolis
While the NASCAR race schedule is in full swing and the weather throughout the country has become milder, Goodyear’s testing program has kicked into full gear.
The exclusive tire supplier to NASCAR’s three national series is coming off back-to-back weeks with tests at Pocono Raceway (April 19-20) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (April 26-27).
With the advent of NASCAR’s 2016 lower downforce rules package, Goodyear has gone to the test lab and the track to come up with a tire that gives more mechanical grip to enhance the racing.
“The lower downforce package has necessitated us changing tire set-ups at many of the tracks on the NASCAR circuit,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “The grip lost due to the reduction in downforce can be offset by mechanical grip through the tires. Testing a wide variety of tracks, along with analyzing the data from the race weekends as we go, has helped us find the right balance.”
Based on the test at Pocono, the tire set-up will fall into a similar pattern that Goodyear has enacted at many tracks already run this season with more grip, specifically on the left-side of the car. It also fell into line with Indianapolis, as it has in the past.
“We wanted to test at Pocono because it has been some time since it was re-paved and we like to keep up with the track surface, as well as seeing how this new rules package will race there,“ said Stucker. “What we found there was that the drivers liked the right-side tire we run at Indianapolis paired with a more tractive left-side tire to give the cars some grip. This makes sense because Pocono and Indianapolis have traditionally asked for similar set-ups, and adding left-side grip has enhanced the racing at several tracks already this year with this lower downforce package.”
Drivers testing Pocono were Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.
After wet weather concerns leading up to the Indianapolis test, the session yielded plenty of on-track time and a consensus on the existing tire set-up.
“Based on feedback from the drivers at Indianapolis, they felt that our control tire set-up – that was the same combination of tires we ran there last year – provided the right amount of grip with the lower downforce package,” said Stucker. “Indianapolis provides its own, unique challenges with the grooved surface, being relatively flat and the high speeds. We had a great test there with a lot of input from the drivers that will help us make the right choice for the race.”
Drivers testing Indianapolis were Aric Almirola, Carl Edwards, Chase Elliott and Tony Stewart.
After these two successful sessions, the testing schedule continues next week (May 10-11) on the newly re-paved surface of Watkins Glen International. Organizations scheduled to participate are Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Stewart Haas Racing.
Watkins Glen is followed by tests at Michigan International Speedway on May 17 (Furniture Row Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway on May 31-June 1 (Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing).