NASCAR looks at downforce and tyres

NASCAR is working with Goodyear Racing in Akron, OH, to evaluate the adoption of 'softer' tyres for its headline Nextel Cup series in 2004. The concensus in US stock car racing circles is that softer tyres, in providing less consistent grip, would increase overtaking opportunities, reduce the importance of fuel mileage and make more demands on race strategies. Goodyear would require a substantial aerodynamic downforce reduction before replacing its current 'hard' compound

NASCAR looks at downforce and tyres

Race driver Jimmy Johnson commented: "If NASCAR can take away the downforce, that's going to mean slower speeds, and then we could start looking at a softer tyre. There's a debate out there on ways to cut speeds. Goodyear's position is that we need a hard tyre because these cars are now building so much downforce and going so fast. They've gone through spells where they've had right-fronts blowing. They want to build a safe tyre."

Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart added: "Goodyear has made some changes with the tyre and probably made it safer for all of us. The teams that were struggling with the tyres now have a tyre that's harder to abuse. That helps to protect Goodyear. We've got a harder tyre that makes you slide around a lot more on the racetrack, and that makes the balance of the car very critical."

Rusty Wallace commented: "Once Goodyear and NASCAR finally see fit to soften up this tyre, you're going to see a lot of really good races. These tyres are real, real hard."

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