Clint Bowyer: “I’m not really a big fan of the tires that we’re running nowadays. If we have trouble, it seems like the first thing we do is go to a more durable tire.”
Also Clint Bowyer: “In my opinion, that durable tire is always worse for racing.
Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano all suffered tire blowouts at ISM Raceway on Sunday. Harvick lost his while in the lead at the end of stage 1. It nearly cost him a run at the championship.
At short tracks, tire blowouts are dramatic. The cars bottom out, sparks fly and the spin until a wall helps them come to a stop.
All that is because at tracks under 1-mile, NASCAR doesn’t run inner liners. On other tracks, there’s a backup tire within the tire. That’s there to prevent 200 mph impacts after a blowout. At ISM Raceway, the cars are going a little slower and it’s not really needed.
In Phoenix, the apron of the race track is completely paved. It’s rough down there. But, drivers have the opportunity to shorten their distance into turn one. This is especially true on race restarts. In that case, the entire inside lane will dip onto the apron.
Bowyer started the day in a hole following a 16th place qualifying effort. However, the #14 was coming to the front in a hurry. After a few adjustments, the car was turning again and he was up to the 7th position.
Unfortunately for Clint Bowyer, his blowout put him in the wall and it ended his championship hopes for 2018.
Clint Bowyer on his tire issues at Phoenix
“I guess we cut a left rear tire down. I don’t know if it’s a product of being able to dip down off the race track like that,” Clint Bowyer states following his DNF at ISM Raceway.
“At the end of the day, it’s pretty unique. We travel all across the country running on race tracks that we run on the race track. And this one, we spend more time, off of it.”
“It’s fun to be able to do that. But, after I saw the #22 and then saw my left go. Maybe that was a product of that. We run low air on these short tracks on our left sides.”
“It’s kinda the way our playoffs were going. It’s frustrating, we’ve had a great year. Proud of our season, bummed for our day.”
“Unfortunately, we were a caution. You never want to be a caution.”
Goodyear has a theory…
Goodyear Racing brought a new tire to Phoenix. On the right side, the tire was designed to cool with cooling. The goal was to see less melted beads as a result of brake heat.
Tire codes for ISM Raceway: Left-side — D-4664; Right-side — D-4836
The NASCAR Xfinity Series race went green to checkered without tire issues. Goodyear is under the impression that teams get bold when there are no tire issues in that race.
“It’s a difficult deal,” Bowyer says of their theory. “I’m not really a big fan of the tires that we’re running nowadays. If we have trouble, it seems like the first thing we do is go to a more durable tire.”
“In my opinion, that durable tire is always worse for racing. All the sudden, you have trouble here. I hope that doesn’t mean we need to go to a more durable tire.”
“At the end of the day, you’re running off the race track. Goodyear can’t design a tire that’s designed to run off the race track. You go down there and bounce damn through it. It’s been that way since they repaved it.”
“It’s kind of a bummer. More than likely, that’s probably what happened. Just my luck in the playoffs, we haven’t been very good,” Bowyer concluded.
Brad Keselowski on Goodyear tires
Goodyear issues recommended tire pressures ahead of every race weekend. How close do the teams follow that?
ISM Raceway PSI recommendations:
LF — 14 psi; RF — 32 psi;
LR — 14 psi; RR — 30 psi
Brad Keselowski answers the question with an analogy, “Do you drive 45 mile an hour on a divided highway? Every time? Do you never go over the speed limit?”
“There is not a single time following the Goodyear recommendations. We were fine. My understanding is the guys that had tire issues ran over debris. I might be wrong,” Keselowski concluded.