By admin | July 26, 2011
By Richard Allen
It seems as though more NASCAR Sprint Cup races than not end in fuel mileage stretch runs. No doubt at some point around the halfway mark of the Brickyard 400 this Sunday in Indianapolis, crew chiefs and drivers will begin the discussion on their team radios of turning the race into a gas saver run. If you are not a fan of such, and based on comments received here and other sites many of you are not, then one solution would be for Goodyear to bring softer tires to each race.
If tires would not last for an entire fuel run teams would have no choice but to pit before the tank runs dry, which would essentially keep them from planning on late race attempts to preserve gas.
And, softer tires would also create better racing as more grip would allow drivers to race side by side without the fear of sliding up the track into the other car or turning around and into the wall. Of course, in today’s racing air is a huge factor in handling but the more grip a car has the less important air becomes.
However, as the anniversary of one of the greatest tire debacles in racing history is recalled this weekend in Indianapolis, it has to be considered that softer tires come with a price. And that price has the potential be quite high.
In all likelihood, the possibility of repeat of the 2008 Brickyard 400 will deter Goodyear and NASCAR from ever offering teams softer tires. Those two entities are more likely willing to take chances with the bad racing and fuel mileage runs created by hard tires than to risk the possibility of significant bad publicity caused by tires blowing out every few laps.
In many dirt and local racing series’, competitors are allowed to choose between a harder and a softer compound rather than everyone being handed the same tires. However, this will never happen in an organization that mandates virtually every other component on the car. Having choices is apparently frowned upon in NASCAR’s top divisions.
Personally, I hate hearing about how good a particular driver is at saving fuel. I understand that the objective is to complete the assigned distance faster than everyone else and sometimes that calls for using one’s wisdom to come up with creative ways to win. However, it seems that every week NASCAR racing comes down to who can coast the furthest. My suggestion of softer tires, or better yet, a choice of either softer or harder tires could at least create a different type of ending from time to time.
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