The Frontstretch: Everybody's Talkin' 'Bout Tires by Thomas Bowles -- Friday September 25, 2009

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Everybody's Talkin' 'Bout Tires

Thomas Bowles · Friday September 25, 2009


The big story in Dover on Friday?

As Allen Iverson might say (bringing back an old school reference), “Everybody’s talking ‘bout tires.”

With both Johnson and Montoya sweeping the front row for Sunday’s race, more than a few drivers cried foul considering both drivers were part of a tire test here August 4th and 5th. Greg Biffle was particularly annoyed, struggling to get up to speed initially while some of those “testers” seemed to have no problem at all.

“The only one that wasn’t scrambling to get going was the No. 48,” he claimed, who paced the field for both practice and qualifying. “They were at the top of the sheet right from the onset, but they were the ones that did the tire test. So naturally, they’re going to get set up for that tire. We’ve been told you’ve got to have a good guy testing tires, but we’ve been told they’re not going to pick Chase guys to test for tires for the last ten races because it’ll make an impact in practice, qualifying, and race trim. And the No. 48 was picked to test and pick the tire.”

In Johnson’s defense, he hadn’t officially qualified for the Chase when the eight-car test happened at Dover, as did Montoya. But Biffle’s was only one take from a handful of drivers with negative opinions, all of which claimed side-by-side racing on Sunday could be difficult. Some of those focused more on Goodyear, with others claiming they pulled an about face on a tire that just didn’t seem to give drivers the grip they wanted.

“I don’t think there’s any benefit,” Denny Hamlin exclaimed, speaking out against tire testing after comparing the current tire to the one at Atlanta where he felt the cars were too loose in and off the turns. “To say it’s a benefit to tire test is completely false, because nine times out of 10, they bring back a tire that nobody even tested on. They’ll take a lot of data from this tire or they’ll piece together this tire and that tire and make [one] that no one has run on and ends up being terrible.”

“I think it’s just crap, really.”

Ouch. So, where do we go from here? A good source told me it’s critical for top drivers to attend each test, because it’s crucial in Goodyear figuring out the right compound for what’s already been a difficult car for them to decipher. After all, you wouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight, would you? Supposedly, at the test Kyle Busch and Johnson were running different types of setups, and that could have played into the No. 48’s early success on Friday, when he ended practice almost a tenth-and-a-half faster than the entire field.

Speaking of Johnson, as you’d expect he didn’t see much of a problem at all.

“Everybody has an opinion, and Goodyear contacts us and tells us where they’d like to use us,” said Friday’s pole sitter. “That’s how it goes, I mean I didn’t have a chance to test Indy, and there were 75,000 cars that went to Indy and ran laps and miles and we didn’t go. So you just kind of go where they tell you to go and run and test. So we tested here with our perk and there’s no doubt there’s an advantage to it, but we overcame that at Indy, didn’t have a chance to test and went up there and won the show.”

At the moment, it looks like the tables have turned at Dover; but don’t expect the griping to end anytime soon.

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09/25/2009 09:41 PM

F.U.B.A.R. Am I the only one who thinks this is totally predictable? Knaus plays this Chase game better than anyone. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of his “test session/26 races” shows up. Another fine example of the 26 race “Prelude to BF’s Dream”.

Fat Willy
09/26/2009 07:12 PM

Lookin for a way to settle this? Let a start and park car take Johnson out of the race early or make him have enough damage to keep him in the garage for many laps so he will not have a chance to make but a few points. I am sick of this team winning too often. Three championships in a row is enough. I am tired of na$car giving special priviledges to Hendrick. Back in the days of Curtis Turner and others this crap would not be happening. I even got tired of R.Petty winning and winning back in his younger years. Now I have respect and admiration for Petty. J Gordon is another many of us grew tired of when he dominated. The only Hendrick team I can pull for is Mark Martin. I would like for him to win the championship one time then tell nascar to shove it but he is too nice of a guy to do that. NA$CAR has too many rules and the rules apply differently each time they are implemented. I think we need more fender bending. Racing was better when Dale Sr. was in it.


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