Although Goodyear brought the same tire combination as was used in last September’s race at the track, it became clear early in the race the tire fall-off was laying no rubber on the track, which resulted in unusually excessive tire wear.

Teams quickly discovered they couldn’t go more than 47 to 50 laps before they risked a tire cording to the point of losing air pressure.

To help manage the issue, NASCAR allowed Goodyear to provide teams with one additional set of tires during the race but that still caused big changes to the pace of the race and pit strategy.

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“We’re trying to understand what’s different, why the track is behaving differently than a year ago,” Goodyear racing director Greg Stucker said during an appearance at the infield media center late in the race.

“It’s the same package. It’s the same tire combination. “It’s still a bit of an unknown.”

Temperatures in Sunday’s race were not more than 10 degrees or so different than last September. The only known change was the use of traction resin at the bottoms of the turns rather than PJ1.

However, a visual examination of the track surface after the race showed no areas of rubbering in on the concrete surface, on the area covered by resin or off. In fact, other than the marbles of used tires, it was hard to discern a race had taken place on the track at all.

The tire conversation required to manage the race helped produce a record 54 lead changes among 16 drivers. But the tire issues also contributed to several of the nine cautions that spanned 98 laps.

It probably provided no surprise that the sport’s most veteran drivers finished 1-2-3 with Denny Hamlin taking the win, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski.

Excess Goodyear tire rubber on the track

Photo by: Lesley Ann Miller / Motorsport Images

“Tire wear is always the goal,” Stucker said. “That’s what people want to see. It creates eaters and goers. Obviously, something is different now. It is too drastic.”

Stucker said he expected that an additional tire test will be needed at the track prior to the series’ return this fall. NASCAR, however, wasn’t so sure much – if anything – needed to change.

“All in all, I thought it was one of the best short-track races I’ve ever seen,” said NASCAR’s Chief Racing Development Officer John Probst. “We’ll go back and look at it all.

“There were times in the race obviously when there was anxiety around are we going to have enough tires to finish it. But, man, coming out at the end and watching all that, I wouldn’t want to change much at all honestly.

“Maybe just give them more tires.”


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