No Repeat Pocono Tyre Debacle

Representatives of Goodyear and Pocono Raceway have both told Autosport-Atlas they are not expecting a repeat of the extraordinary number of tyre failures experienced at last month's Pocono 500 when they return to the Pennsylvanian track this weekend

No Repeat Pocono Tyre Debacle

More than 20 tyres failed during the race on June 12th, damaging the races of leading Nextel Cup contenders Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Mark Martin.

After the race in June, Goodyear rejected speculation that a switch to a new compound for the meeting contributed to the failures and have confirmed they will use the same compound again this weekend. Goodyear are confident that changes to the track and a small increase in the recommended tyre pressures will be enough to prevent the failures reoccurring.

"We've been working with the teams to evaluate what went on last time out at Pocono, and it was not solely a tyre problem," A senior Goodyear spokesperson told Autosport-Atlas. "As the track has undergone changes, we feel that the same tyre compound we used for the Pocono 500 will be appropriate for this weekend's Pennsylvania 500.

"We have however recommended to the teams an increase of one psi on the left side."

The 2.5-mile Pocono raceway also came under criticism after a 15ft by 15ft ashphalt patch was laid to improve Turn Two prior to the June race, which some believed contributed to the problem. This area has now been re-laid and the rumble strips at the corner have also been replaced.

A Pocono Raceway spokesman denied that the track surface was to blame, however. He told Autosport-Atlas: "There were a lot of tyre failures, but only 12 cars were affected - 31 cars were not. It wasn't the track's fault and Goodyear say it wasn't their fault, so whose fault it is?

"The rumble strips at Pocono had been there for 15 years and have never caused a problem. However, we have made some changes at the suggestion of NASCAR [organisers]. We have no reason to expect any problems this weekend."

Championship contender Dale Jarrett believed the problems were down to teams running under-inflated tyres and pushing the Goodyears beyond their construction limits.

"Well, you have to think that," Jarrett said. "Goodyear really don't make a bad tyre, so you can't put it at that. They're going to bring their very best to the race track for us.

"Tyre problems happen because we abuse them. We do things to them that they weren't built to do. You would have to think that that was a major contributor to the problem. I think the possibility of that low air wasn't helped by the track. If you didn't hit the bumps over in Turn Two at the tunnel turn, then you had to go across the ripple strips.

"I would say that that was probably damaging the tires to start with. We don't have anything else really concrete to show us anything different. Goodyear has gone up on the recommended pressure and it will be up to us to adhere to that."

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