Monday’s tire test at Michigan International Speedway produced fast speeds and happy drivers.
Twenty-eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams participated in the daylong tire confirmation. The daylong test allowed teams and Goodyear to check out the tires teams will use when the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series return to MIS in a few weeks.
Goodyear has selected a new combination for the two-mile racetrack; a combination of the original tires from the April test and a slightly softer version of the tire used during the June race.
Though top speeds were not official, some drivers topped out at 210 mph Monday. Average speeds were in the 195-mph range, slower than both the April tire test and the June NASCAR event at the track when. Marcos Ambrose claimed the pole at 203.241 mph. Goodyear was eventually forced to bring in a harder tire, after drivers experienced blistering during practice sessions.
Uncomfortable with running the same tires again, Goodyear has developed a new combination.
“June was our first race on this new pavement,” said Greg Stucker, director of Racing Tire Sales for Goodyear. “We digested everything we saw over the weekend, in practice as well as what we had in the race. We digested that and looked at all the data, pored over all the comments we got from the teams and drivers and made our recommendation for our package coming up in August. That is why we were here today, confirming that.”
Driver Greg Biffle said lower speeds will lead to exciting racing at MIS.
“Since the speed is down just a tiny bit, I think you will see that groove continue to widen out,” he said. “I have even floored it down low on the race track, and the car has some turn in it down there. I think we are going to see some good racing. We were fearful that this tire would be low on grip and the car would be hard to drive. That is certainly not the case.”
Michigan native Brad Keselowski agreed, saying, “Goodyear has us here to kind of reconfirm some things that we saw (in June) and hopefully improve the racing another notch here at Michigan International Speedway. We’re trying to help out… and also make our cars better at the same time. So it’s a good process for all.”