Atlanta Tire Could 'Revolutionize' Sport
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on August 14, 2013 | 9:54 A.M. EST
Brad Keselowski says that Goodyear's zone tread tire for Atlanta, which combines treads from two tracks to make a better tire, could "revolutionize the sport.'' (Photo: Getty Images)
Maybe giving the new tire NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams will use later this month at Atlanta the nickname "Franken-tire" isn’t the best suggestion.
Frankenstein, of course, was not viewed by most as good. Goodyear’s new tire, though, could be great for the sport, says a former champion.
Just as Frankenstein was a combination of this and that, so, too, will the right-side tires be at Atlanta - although more precise. Goodyear combined treads from two tracks to create a right-side tire that handles the high speeds, heat and wear Atlanta Motor Speedway produces.
The inside shoulder of the tire will be what is used at Michigan, a durable tire that combats the heat produced from the high speeds there. The outer two-thirds will be the Atlanta tread run before. The left-side tires, which are not punished as much, will remain the same as last year.
While Goodyear has done this "zone tread" with passenger car tires since 2004, it had not been done in NASCAR until now. Defending series champ Brad Keselowski likes the new approach.
"Goodyear has done a good job of kind of rewriting their book on how they construct tires, to try to compensate for some of the ways this style of stock car punishes then," he said.
Keselowski was among 13 teams that took part in a one-day confirmation test at Atlanta last week. He said this new tire can "revolutionize the sport."
Todd Berrier, crew chief for Kurt Busch, said the tires could make the car drive better. Busch was among the teams that tested with the tire last week.
"The tire we ran before was going to run too hot, and this one is going to live and not have right-front tire trouble," Berrier said.
The challenge for Goodyear was that Atlanta’s track surface has become the most abrasive on the circuit - much like Darlington was before its repave in 2007. The new tire proved to be better than what was used previously at Atlanta according to Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales.
"We had a number of issues with blistering, heat and wear," Stucker said of the previous right-side tires that were used at a June test. "We just knew that wasn’t going to survive."
To solve the issue, Stucker said Goodyear engineers decided to combine the Michigan and Atlanta treads. Last week's tire test confirmed the results.
Stucker said there are no plans to have a combined tread at other tracks, but that doesn’t mean Goodyear isn’t looking into the possibility. Goodyear has tire tests scheduled for Phoenix International Raceway and Richmond International Raceway in the coming weeks.
"It’s not really targeted quite yet at some of these other (tests)," Stucker said of zone tread tires being run elsewhere. "It will certainly continue to be part of our fundamental testing."