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Multi-Zone Tires To Hit The Track In Texas

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 3 2014

Goodyear is bringing back multi-zone tires this weekend. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

FORT WORTH, Texas – Goodyear’s multi-zone tread tire will make its competitive debut on Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile quadoval during this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500.

The multi-zone tread concept, combining two distinct rubber compounds on the same right-side tire, was run at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway last year – similar high-banked, 1.5-mile layouts.

Specifically, the multi-zone tire combines one compound run on the outside 10 inches of the tread designed for traction with another compound on the inside two inches designed for durability.

The inside compound is “toughened-up” as the contact patch that endures the most heat and takes the most abuse.

TMS has proven to be one of NASCAR’s most demanding tracks on rubber since joining the schedule in 1997. Banked at 24 degrees, TMS is abrasive and wears tires quickly while producing high speeds/loads.

Goodyear engineers believe that combination makes TMS ideal for its multi-zone tread technology.

“With this 2014 rules package, we expect speeds and loads to be up at Texas,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of race tire sales. “Like at Atlanta last year, we didn’t want to sacrifice grip on a worn racing surface. We decided to bring our multi-zone tread to enhance the durability on the right-side, and we are coming back with the Texas left-side we’ve run there in the past to maintain grip.

“This season, we’ve already broken track records on the two intermediate tracks we’ve raced so far – Las Vegas (Motor Speedway) and California (Auto Club Speedway in Fontana). There’s no reason to think Texas won’t be more of the same.”

Goodyear worked throughout the offseason testing and confirming its tire recommendations with the new rules package. Because of the scheduling demands of producing 150,000 NASCAR tires each season, at-track testing is not always an option.

That makes Goodyear’s lab testing, which replicates actual race conditions, vitally important.

“We conducted lab durability testing with this package to verify the performance of this tire set-up, including the validation of our air pressure recommendations,” Stucker said. “Our test process enables us to utilize track and car data to simulate actual race conditions. When time does not allow for a track test, this modeling allows us to do the same thing.

“Once we generate this data, confirming our recommendation and at which air pressures the tires need to be run, we share that information with the teams. The teams have the ability to use this inflation data, along with the tire characterization data we supply each week, to make choices to optimize endurance and performance. Teams have asked for some flexibility with how they set-up their cars. This information is just another tool in their toolbox.”

Goodyear is recommending minimum inflation pressures of 23 psi (front) and 21 psi (rear) on the left-side and 51 psi (front) and 47 psi (rear) on the right-side at TMS, where tire management again will be a key issue.

– John Sturbin can be reached at jsturbin@racintoday.com

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 3 2014
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