Goodyear Selects Phoenix, Martinsville Tire

Kyle Busch

Phoenix provided several challenges, including being completely repaved, reconfigured and had progressive banking knocked into the corners.


Following tire tests in recent weeks at both Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has finalized its tire combinations for the two tracks.

"We've had two very successful tests over the past couple weeks, and after having some time to go back to Akron with our entire racing group and review the data, we've come up with our race recommendations for both Martinsville and Phoenix," said Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director of racing. "Each track presented its unique challenges, with Martinsville's concrete corners and Phoenix's repave and reconfiguration, but we had great participation and information from our test teams and feel good about what we've come up with."

The Martinsville test was held on August 16-17 with five teams -- No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge with Brad Keselowski, No. 6 Roush-Fenway Racing Ford with David Ragan, No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet with Jeff Burton, No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Toyota with Bobby Labonte and No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"What we came up with at Martinsville was returning with the same left-side tire we ran there in the spring, and pairing that with the Watkins Glen tire on the right-side," said Stucker. "Many times in the past we've utilize the same tire code as our Martinsville right-side that we run on all four tire positions on the road courses. We found at this test that this Watkins Glen tire was a good fit because it provided plenty of grip while rubbering in Martinsville's concrete corners."

Phoenix provided several challenges, including being completely repaved, reconfigured and had progressive banking knocked into the corners. Those testing in the Valley of the Sun last Monday and Tuesday (August 29-30) were the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet with Tony Stewart, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with Kyle Busch, No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge with Kurt Busch, No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with Jimmie Johnson and No. 99 Roush-Fenway Racing Ford with Carl Edwards.

"With all the changes at Phoenix, we knew it would be a much faster track," added Stucker. "We went to that test with our Indianapolis tire as our 'control' tire because we thought it might have many traits of a higher speed speedway with relatively flat corners. We ran through a number of different tire set-ups to explore what kind of grip we could generate. The results always came back to that control tire for consistency, grip, wear and heat resistance.

"What we finally decided on for Phoenix was bringing the exact Indianapolis left-side tire, with the Indianapolis compound and construction on the right side with just slightly less gage, or tread thickness, for heat resistance."

Goodyear will now build a total of 2,000 tires -- 1,000 per side -- of the Phoenix set-up for teams to use at NASCAR's open test at the track on October 4-5.

Goodyear continues its tire testing schedule with a September 27-28 session at Bristol Motor Speedway. Teams and drivers scheduled to participate in that test are the No. 1 Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing Chevrolet with Jamie McMurray, No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford with Marcos Ambrose, No. 13 Germain Racing Toyota with Casey Mears and No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet with Regan Smith. Following Bristol, additional tire tests have already been scheduled for Auto Club Speedway on October 18 and Las Vegas Motor Speedway on November 7.

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