Goodyear Wants to Bring More Tire Wear to NASCAR After Bristol

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Goodyear Wants More NASCAR Tire Wear After BristolIcon Sportswire - Getty Images

Tire wear was so aggressive during Sunday's NASCAR race at Bristol that some cars were blowing tires around 50 laps into a run. The chaotic mess led to one of the best events the series has ever held. However, that outcome was something of a fortunate accident; Goodyear brought a compound it had already used in a previous race and did not expect Sunday's excessive tire wear. The tire brand still has not figured out exactly why it happened, but Goodyear Director of Racing Greg Stucker told Road & Track that it was encouraged by the results anyway.

"Right now we are evaluating the Bristol race to try to determine why the tire behaved differently than it did last fall," Stucker said. "The drivers have been asking for higher tire wear to put more control in their hands by way of tire management, as well as with the crew chiefs to get the balance of the cars right. We tested at Bristol last June and took a step to create more wear and that’s what we brought for the September ’23 race with good results."

Stucker went on to explain that Goodyear is focusing on the racing surface to find the cause of the added wear.

"After this past weekend, we just need to analyze why the track reacted differently than last fall – was there something different with the track prep, and we know that they applied resin in the corners as compared to PJ1 [another kind of grip-strengthening race surface compound] in the past. On Sunday, the wear mechanism was different for some reason. It wasn’t a structural issue with the tire itself — the tread was just wearing to where the grip went away."

That work has not yet been completed, so Goodyear cannot say with certainty which variables actually led to the very different wear rates. Fortunately, it appears that the company is as encouraged by the results as fans and drivers have been. Stucker said that Goodyear is looking to bring more of this messy tire action to NASCAR. The goal going forward could be a similar product with slightly less wear.

"Overall, everyone agrees that tire wear is good for racing, and after looking back at this weekend we’re taking the positives out of it in that we want to have wear and fall-off, but maybe just not to that level."

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