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NASCAR: tires a big factor at brickyard

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posted on Aug, 9 2004 @ 06:26 PM
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i bet the boys from goodyear are all over the tires that failed on sunday, they are making headlines for all the wrong reasons after that race

Tires factor into Sunday's outcome for several teams

By JIM UTTER

ThatsRacin.com Writer


INDIANAPOLIS - More than a dozen teams experienced problems with tires in Sunday's Brickyard 400 and several drivers who appeared to be contenders for the win had their fortunes change for the worse.
Robby Gordon was running third when his No. 31 Chevrolet had a tire go down and then fall apart when he stayed on the track and waited to pit under caution.

On the final lap of the race, Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. - each running in the top-10 - had tires go down, ruining otherwise strong performances.

Martin had battled back from two flat tires earlier in the race. Rookie Kasey Kahne also had a tire go down and battled back from two laps down for a fourth-place finish.

Matt Kenseth was running second late in the race when a piece of debris flew out from under race leader Jeff Gordon's Chevrolet. Kenseth ran over it and, fearing tire damage, pitted for fresh rubber only to find out his tires were OK.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. officials said most of the tire problems would fall into two areas: those punctured by debris on the track and those related to the setups some teams used. Left-front tires problems were in the latter category, they said.

"I would say there are certainly more issues than we've had in the past," said Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director of racing tires and sales. Tire issues covered several pages of notes Stucker made during the race.

"Some guys did have punctures, a sure sign of debris. But others had just blown up, which could be camber. It could be air pressure, it could be teams trying to push the envelope and get more than what we recommend from their tires," he said.

Several drivers complained after running over debris during the race, with Martin and Earnhardt Jr. - who completed his first full race since suffering second-degree burns in a sports car race July 18 - among the most vocal.

"It's a hell of a heartbreak to have a tire cut down on the last lap. We had a real good run going, sitting there in sixth place and trying to make it to the end and leave here with a top 10," Earnhardt Jr. said.

"My car was the best it had been all day 20 laps earlier, but those last few laps it got real tight again, it was bottoming out in every corner, and I knew something bad was happening."

Earnhardt Jr. finished 27th and Martin 25th




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