Series officials issued multiple warnings to the teams stating that it would be “altering the sidewall of the tire” which is illegal
At Deer Creek Speedway in May, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series officials were tipped off that a team might have modified the sidewalls of their tires. A warning was issued to the teams at the Show-Me 100 the following week. Officials went searching for the possible violation but came up with nothing.
Supposedly, a team used a Kevlar insert, inside the tire. It basically stiffens the side wall of the Hoosier tire. It doesn’t likely soften or harden the compound itself, it just strengths the sidewall.
The insert is glued to the inside of the tire and it can only be used once, on a single tire. The cost of the said insert was rumored to be $100, for a single Kevlar insert. Basically, the cost of this item would nearly double tire costs.
“We were tipped off that somebody was putting an insert in the sidewall of the tire. It was made of Kevlar, it’s a ring,” Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series director Rick Schwallie explained to RacingNews.co .
“It glues into the sidewall of the tire. It stiffens the sidewall of the tire and changes the construction characteristics of the tire.”
“We’re on spec tires where there’s only one construction for that particular corner, whatever corner it may be.”
“So, to change the construction characteristics would be out of bounds for us. And gluing it into the tire would also be altering the tire, chemically. We don’t allow that as well, it’s deemed illegal.”
“Plus, we heard the cost was $100 per tire. The use is a single use. So, once it’s glued into the tire you can’t use it again. We’re not fixin’ to add $100 to everybody’s tire costs.”
That’s pretty nifty though.
“Yeah. This is a very smart pit area. So, it’s not shocking or surprising.”
“We wish we were on the offense more than we were on the defense. But, being the people that we are and what we do, we’re a lot of times on the defense.”
Did you catch someone? Or was it only brought to your attention?
“No. It was brought to our attention and we brought it up in the drivers’ meeting. We’ve tech’d it for a few nights and we’ve found nothing.”
“A lot of times, there’s things that are brought to our attention that we go looking for that turn out to be a mythical creature that’s not even there.”
Well, it’s teams not wanting to spend an extra $100 per tire. These teams point things out like that because if they don’t then they have to do it too.
“It’s just silly to think that we’re going to add $100 a night to a tire on a disposable thing. Most the time, they’re only running a tire for 1 night anyway. To add another cost to that, it would be silly.”
Why would teams want a stiffer sidewall?
Here’s why a stiffer sidewall can be a good thing. Less heat.
A stiffer tire sidewall would create less flex in the tire. Flex generates heat. I can’t say for certain but I would assume something like this would have likely be a disadvantage when it came to qualifying.
However, over the course of a 100 lap feature it might bring a drastic advantage. As everyone else’s tires flexed and continued to generate heat, a team with this Kelvar insert would likely see far less heat over a long run. As a result, there tires might have been able to preform better for an extended period of time.
It was also make it less susceptible to sealing over. When you see drivers light up the tires under caution, that’s what they’re doing. They’re trying to keep them from cooling too much. Large variations from the heat generated in a long run to the cool down under caution could cause the tires to seal over.
A team likely tipped off officials because they don’t want to add $100 per tire to their own bill. If somebody else is doing it, that means you have to do it too. Unless, you point it out to the officials and they make it clear that it’s illegal. Which is exactly what happened.
Related: Deer Creek Speedway Results
Related: Show-Me 100 Results