posted on Jan, 31 2005 @ 06:56 PM
So far, Gordon, Johnson pleased with new tire
Hendrick duo hope quicker-wearing tire will lead to better racing
By Ryan Smithson, NASCAR.COM
January 31, 2005
06:04 PM EST (23:04 GMT)
LAS VEGAS -- Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are welcoming a new Goodyear tire compound that they hope leads to
increased wear in 2005.
In recent years, the tire that Goodyear has brought to the track has been extremely durable, leading to many gas-and-go stops late in the race.
In 2001, Elliott Sadler won at Bristol after running the final third of a 500-lap race on one set of tires. In 2003, Ryan Newman ran 106 laps on the
final set to win at Dover.
Goodyear's new tire this year is designed for increased wear, which will put even more emphasis on pit crews.
"You're going to have to be on you're A-game to communicate and get the car right," said Johnson, who tested the new tire at Atlanta earlier this
month. "Every track is at least three or four years old now, and I see tire wear being more of an issue."
Gordon doesn't have the early head start that Johnson does with the new tire, but he liked how it drove on Monday during Day 1 of testing at Las Vegas
"The grip level seems to be pretty good," said Gordon. "I am interested to see how much it is going to drop off when we make a lot of laps."
Gordon, as a four-time champion, is a master of tire management, and he wants to new tire to help him return to his dominant days of the late
"I think it will make for better racing and it allows our team to perform better as well," Gordon said. "That is where we are at our best -- when we
have to get the car handling well."
Johnson says the new, shorter spoiler will also play a role in tire wear, as the cars are expected to shift more in the corner and lean on the
"You have that movement, and its just peeling rubber off the tire," Johnson said. "It is going to make handling more of a premium."
A set of four Goodyears costs around $1,600 for teams, so the new compound will cost the teams more money.
"It's not the fix for tire budgets, but it brings better racing," Johnson said. "More side-by-side racing."