The Frontstretch: Biggest BSNEWS Scoop of the Year! One Word: Indianapolis by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday July 31, 2008

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Biggest BSNEWS Scoop of the Year! One Word: Indianapolis

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday July 31, 2008

 

(BSNEWS – Indianapolis) — Last Sunday’s Allstate 400, presented by NASCAR and Goodyear at the fabled “Brickyard…”

And now, back to our regularly scheduled column…

In all seriousness, the big news this week was, as so aptly covered by the BSNEWS team, the fiasco that was Indianapolis. But since it is now so late in the week, and you are probably sick of hearing about it, all I am going to do is throw in a couple of observations — and maybe make fun of a few Goodyear quotes.

First of all, there was no need for NASCAR to keep using the competition caution throughout the whole race.

Many, including NASCAR, have said it was necessary for the safety of the drivers, but that is just plain horse muffins! After the third or fourth one, NASCAR knew, the teams knew, Goodyear knew, and even the fans knew that the situation was not going to improve. The situation was what it was, and that was that. Why keep throwing competition yellows?

“Someone might crash and get hurt!” you say. Well yeah, that could happen. That could happen every race. My point is, as a driver and a crew chief, they knew the tires had maybe 15 laps at best in them. If that is a given, you know that you have to come in and change tires at that point, or risk having a wrecked race car. And as far as I can tell, wrecked race cars seldom win a race … most teams have figured that out by now.

The Goodyears raced at Indy only held up for ten laps, but were all the competition cautions really necessary to ensure teams didn’t cross that line?

Yes, someone may have tried to push the envelope and have gone one lap too many, but tell me: what difference does it make if you know your tires will last 15 laps or 50 before they are worn out? Teams know if they are running on borrowed laps or not … they did not need NASCAR to tell them. By their logic, the sport should then throw the competition yellow, at every race, at the end of every “tire run” — regardless of whether the tires will last 10 laps or 100.

If the teams are too stupid to know when to change tires, NASCAR needs to err on the side of safety every time. So no, those competition yellows weren’t needed, and NASCAR simply dropped the ball big time. It was almost as if you could see the officials in the tower, scratching their butts wondering what they should do while waiting for a phone call from Brian to ask him — during his weekly call to see what the final “take” at the gate was, of course.

But had NASCAR just told the teams after the 4th caution, ‘Hey, tires last only about 10 laps!,’ then at least it could have been an exciting race as different teams used different short pit strategies. Had that been done, it could have been one of the best races of the year.

But it didn’t happen … and that wasn’t very smart. As for Goodyear, their spokesman, Greg Stucker, pretty well summed up the intelligence level in that company after the race.

“This was the same compound we raced last year, and the wear improved over the course of the day last year to the point where we could run the full stops,” Stucker said once the debacle was finally over. “That didn’t happen today, so we need to understand why. We’re going to do our best to try to turn it around, we’re going to talk with the race track, figure out what can we do about the race track, try to understand a little bit more, try to work with NASCAR, and try to figure out what to expect from the car and the teams.”

So, Goodyear is going to figure out what to do about the race track? Figure out what to expect from the car and the teams?

Hey Goodyear, here is a hint: Try figuring out what to do about your crappy tires! You can’t change the race track. You don’t build a track to fit the tire, you blithering idiots!

As for the car and the teams, well, the car weighs x amount of pounds, has a certain center of gravity, and has a certain amount of sway or travel. Those are givens, and have been givens since the new car came out! The whole point of the new car was to make it almost non-adjustable by the teams. And those teams — while I admit I could be way off base here — are maybe, maybe expecting a tire that will last more than five laps. Just a guess.

“We’re the tire supplier, we take it onto our shoulders, we’ve got to improve it, but … it’s the package, so we need to understand the whole thing together and try to make it better,” said Stucker.

Hey Goodyear… it’s round, it’s rubber, it’s been around for awhile. It’s called a wheel thingy. Look it up!

Stay off the wall, (run Hoosiers)

Jeff Meyer

Contact Jeff Meyer

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marshall
07/31/2008 07:11 AM
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Goodyear and NASCAR need to change the whole race tire design process . Start with the actual test dates . Why on earth would Goodyear want to test the Brickyard tire in April when the race is held in the scorching heat of August ? Possible tire compounds should be tested in as close to actual race conditions as possible . The Monday or Tuesday after each race should be used for testing . Same track . Same temperatures .
The idea of open testing needs to be done away with . The only teams that will always take advantage of testing days are the teams with huge budgets . Sending teams to any test session costs a lot of money . Smaller teams don’t have the money or man power to go to tests . And it helps to put the top teams just that much further ahead of the others when a three or four team tire test is held . A far better idea is to require Goodyear to test the tires themselves . Hire their own test drivers , own one of each current NASCAR vehicle , and do their own testing . Then , the teams all go to the race on an equal footing . No teams have used the race tire yet , and a handfull of teams haven’t had the advantage of testing the tire and the track .

Steve Cloyd
07/31/2008 08:21 AM
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My problem with this is that they didn’t do enough well before the race. They had 3 cars test and Dale Earnhardt Jr. said the following after the race (from an article at this site);

“I helped tire test here [so] blame it all on me if you want to. But when I was here [testing], they were wearing out in five laps, too.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr., finished 12th

That should have set off all kinds of alarms that further testing was needed. To come here and claim, “aw shucks, we thought she’d rubber up like last year” is laughable. The tires lasted longer on the old car. A different car necessitates more testing. I’m not the brightest bulb in the world, but I’m bright enough to figure that out.

All the yellow flag and race day drama is secondary to the real problem; NASCAR and Goodyear burying their heads in the sand and not wanting to spend the coin to make sure they did things right, months ahead of time. They gambled that everything would work out. They lost.

Stormin
07/31/2008 12:01 PM
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Hit the nail on the head, Steve. It’s just inexcusable.

Chris2
07/31/2008 05:30 PM
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Jeff, while the whole race was a pretty sad state of affairs I have to say your article pretty much gave me a few laughs over it. I’m glad I’m not the only one that thought that it was odd that NASCAR decided to throw all the comp. cautions they did in the name of safety. I found myself saying aloud, much to my wife’s displeasure that (a) These are smart guys, tell hem they have only so many laps on a tire and they will figure out what they want to do..no caution needed. They want to push the envelope and tape together a quarter panel later on, fine, that’s their deal. (b) If I recall this sport is based on..what was it again, oh, that’s right “racing”, (which is technically different than a “show” unless your NASCAR). Pretty sure looking at racing history that until recently guys actually raced hard, damn the torpedo’s and all that. They had those things in the car..hmm, that’s right, something called “roll bars” and all sorts of safety features that protected them in a crash..which sometimes is the result of “hard racing”. (Heck, go back a bit and look at some old stock cars..see what little they had in them for safety). In recent years it seems that the racing has gone down the tubes as far as what I’d consider racing. Now its all about points racing, drivers being coddled. The nightime Bristol race is coming up and that used to be a race you_had to watch. Who knew that NASCAR could screw up a short track as bad as they have with that one. Everyone so damned worried about points that they may as well be running with turn signals as they go around each other. I may be ranting a bit but go back and watch the last lap of the first televised Daytona 500 with Cale and Donnie banging on each other for a purse that was the fraction of what these guys get paid out now and compare it to the racing now. They didn’t care about the purse, just who got to the checkered flag first. This “big picture” racing that goes on now has sucked the life out of NASCAR. Support your local short track..where they run hard for small purses.

Douglas
07/31/2008 06:15 PM
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The biggest kick I get out of this whole tire fiasco, is that NA$CAR closes the pits 3 laps before the “competition yellows”, and when a “competition yellow” is thrown to enable required tires changes, THEY INVOKE THE LUCKY DOG RULE! So a lapped car gets the benefit of the defective GOODYEAR TIRES! EVERY TEN LAPS!

Is that too funny or what?

Whats that comedian (Ron White)on TV say? “THERE AIN’T NO CURE FOR STUPID”!!

Hello Brian, are you listening?

Ken Preston
08/04/2008 11:42 PM
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A $9 million purse and someone at NASCAR agrees that extensive tire testing is not needed even though the tire/car combination has never been used. NASCAR heads should roll and paid fans should be refunded money for they did not get anything more than heast races! Hang ‘em high for everyone to see!

 

Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

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