Tire Wear Issues Surface

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Excessive wear on right-side tires during Saturday afternoon's two Sprint Cup practice sessions raised concerns among crew chiefs on the eve of Sunday's race.

Tires typically wore to the cords after 5-10-lap runs laps at the Brickyard. Tire maker Goodyear brought right-side tires with the same tread compound as those run last year, but with a slightly different construction, according Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales for Goodyear. The left-side tires, which weren't an issue in practice, feature a slightly softer compound than last year's left sides.

The tire maker faces extraordinary challenges at Indy, a once-a-year event with no companion races to lay additional rubber on the track. Wear was so prevalent Saturday that Goodyear began rationing practice tires to the teams.

"There's only one NASCAR series that's here this weekend," said Robin Pemberton, the sanctioning body's vice president of competition. The track is very abrasive, because we don't run on it very often. Goodyear's doing the best they can. It's a situation that we do see probably every time that we come here."

NASCAR will call a competition caution within the first 20 laps Sunday to evaluate tire wear. Stucker expects the issue to ameliorate as the 43 cars in the Allstate 400 rubber the track during competition. To make sure each car will have at least 10 sets of tires available for the race, Goodyear began rationing practice tires Saturday afternoon.

Chris Carrier, crew chief for the No. 77 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr., can sympathize with the difficulty Goodyear faces in building a tire for the Brickyard.

"The problem is that you have a 3,500-pound racecar with a lot of horsepower that doesn't handle well going around a 2.5-mile track that has flat corners, with an abrasive surface," Carrier said. "Asking anybody to build a tire and come to this place and run two days of practice for a 400-mile race -- with the weight of these racecars, horsepower and amount of load -- is like asking somebody to invade Russia with a loaded shotgun.

"It's pretty hard to do. Everybody is concerned about it."

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