Tire Issue Causes Kurt Busch Crash
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on April 4, 2014 | 8:44 P.M. EST
The left rear of Kurt Busch's car that caused his crash. Goodyear was investigating. (Photo: Dustin Long)
FORT WORTH, Texas - Kurt Busch blew a left rear tire and crashed Friday, becoming the first driver to have such tire issues this weekend after some had predicted similar tire problems as seen two weeks ago Auto Club Speedway.
Busch said he was trying to do a 20-lap run late in Friday night’s practice when he had trouble and crashed. He had run 19 laps on that set of tires. He’ll go to a backup car.
“No indication, it just started to separate in the middle of the backstraightaway where the left rear has the most load,’’ said Busch, who won last weekend at Martinsville Speedway. “We were just trying to ... get a gauge on our tires and it didn’t make it to that 20-lap mark. Shame on us, I guess, for trying to go 20 laps in practice. We needed more rubber on the track. We tried to stretch the envelope.
“What’s happening is that last outer edge, right where the sidewall attaches to the tread, you see stress.’’
Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director of race tire sales, agreed with Busch's assessment.
“While (the tire) was heavily damaged, our initial assessment is air loss due to over-deflection in the sidewall area,’’ Stucker said. “We've spoken to the team and got some preliminary information, but we need to talk with them further to get more details to help make a final determination.’’
Busch said what happened in practice “is in that category” of the tire issues at Auto Club Speedway. Busch blew a tire after 17 laps during practice two weeks ago, one of several drivers who had such issues throughout the weekend. Goodyear cited low air pressure as a reason for failures teams had there.
A Goodyear official said earlier in the day he didn’t anticipate any issues with the tires, particularly the left-side tires this weekend. Teams are using the same type of left-side tire that has been run at Texas since 2011. The right-side tires are new this year. They are the multi-zone tire similar to what was used last year at Atlanta and Kansas.
Busch said the tire wear had been even before the incident.
“We didn’t think we had much of a problem and so we have to gauge our notes off the other Stewart-Haas cars,’’ Busch said.
Goodyear was examining Busch’s tire Friday night.
Also, David Ragan is going to a backup car after an incident earlier in practice where he got into the infield grass and damaged the front of his car. His incident was not tire related.