Scottvoight's NASCAR Blog

February 13, 2010

Tires the story

Filed under: NASCAR News and Views — Scott Voight @ 8:52 am

You have a flat tire and you go to the tire store, what kind of tire will you purchase? There all kinds of grooves for different driving conditions but that is about all your choices. It takes approximately 2 hours to get 4 tires changed and on your way you go, for about two years before you have to get new tires. There are 18 different tire compounds specializing in different track conditions and it take the crew 17 seconds to change four tires, clean the windshield, give the driver a drink and they fill the car with fuel too.

So what is the difference between a racing tire and a street car tire?

 To begin with there are no grooves on racing tires they are slicks. The tire compound which is the chemical make-up of the tire is completely different. Your tire at home is made to go 50,000 miles where racing tires are worn out in 150 miles. Each track has different types of asphalt, concrete or a mixture of both. Some tracks are more abrasive than others, some have more sand in them than others and some are in colder and/or hotter regions of the Unites States. Goodyear has to test and find the right mixture to make the tires stick to each track best.

The cars literally create so much heat in the tires from friction that the rubber melts to form a soft gooey like consistency, in order to turn the corners at such high speeds with top heavy vehicles.

In a race weekend a team will go through an average of nine to 14 sets of tires and at $389 dollars each that adds up to $15, 560 if they use 10 sets.  Racing tires use nitrogen to pressurize them where the family car uses air. Racing tires build up so much heat, the air pressure increases, in relation to heat. Teams have used this information to form a scientific calculation they use to adjust the race cars by adding and lowering tire pressure during a pit stop. In fact, if they add a half pound of air pressure it can change the entire handling aspects of the cars. This is how good crew chiefs win races, by adjusting their cars throughout the race they can make their car the fastest at the end, based on air pressure that is figured on the present track conditions.

On some tracks, the ones called superspeedways Goodyear requires inner liners used.  This is basically a tire within a tire. The reason NASCAR uses these is, if you are going 180-200 mph and you suddenly get a flat tire by puncturing the tire, you will not go flipping down the track, taking out other competitors and possibly injuring yourself. The inner liner gives the driver a chance to get the car slowed down and safely get it to pit road to get a new tire.

So the next time you need tires remember, the information learned by Goodyear by racing, is the information that makes your tire safer and last longer.


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