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Goodyear extension not exactly cause for celebration for this writer

By admin | October 3, 2011

By Richard Allen

 

On Monday morning NASCAR and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company jointly announced that the tire manufacturer has been granted an extension to the deal which gives them exclusive rights to supply tires for the sport’s top three divisions through 2017. In the opinion of this writer, that was a less than exciting announcement.

This NASCAR season has featured an unusual number of races in which the endings have come down to fuel mileage stretch runs with drivers spending more time coasting to save enough gas to limp to the end than actually racing. A big part of that has been due to the fact that the tires brought to the track by Goodyear each week are so hard that they don’t wear away. Thus, teams are not forced to bring their cars to pit road often enough to take fuel mileage out of the equation.

While to the novice it may sound like good news that the tires hold up so well over long runs, the reality is that hard tires make for less competitive racing and give rise to parade formations on most tracks. Hard tires do not grip the track surface as well as softer tires and in turn make side by side racing less probable. The recent events in New Hampshire and Dover have provided a great deal of proof to back that statement.

Every time this topic is raised there are a multitude of talking heads who take to television and radio microphones to hurl the phrase “This sport doesn’t need a tire war” in all directions. These people have been too long engrained in a form a racing that everyday removes more and more choices and replaces them with mandates.

Dirt Late Model racing offers some of the best competition in all of motorsports and both the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and the World of Outlaws Late Models Series allow not only for multiple brands of tires to be used but also for multiple compounds to be provided by those manufacturers.

Having more than one supplier of anything is always better for the consumer. That’s good capitalism and it’s the American way.

The reason so many higher ups in NASCAR are opposed to a so called tire war is because like so many other facets of the sport they allowed their greed to overtake their good sense in the days in which multiple tire suppliers were allowed. Every major team tied themselves into binding contracts with one tire maker or the other and thus found themselves in a bad situation on those weekends when the other supplier had a better tire.

The removal choices prevents people from making the wrong choices. That seems to be the prevailing sentiment in NASCAR these days.

In the coming week, there will be scores of commentators who will take to the airwaves to tell any who will listen that this extension granted to Goodyear is good for the sport. After taking a look at the parade racing and fuel stretches, do you agree?

Of course, these commentators will use safety as one of their key arguments. If a company brings tires that are not safe to the track, no one will buy them. Again, that’s good capitalism and it’s the American way.

After the tire debacle of 2008 in Indianapolis in which the ground up track chewed through tires at an alarming rate, Goodyear has seemingly decided that their tires will not provide the central storyline again. The best way to do that has been to bring hard tires to the track week after week. And with no competition, why should they cease to do so?

Topics: Articles |

8 Responses to “Goodyear extension not exactly cause for celebration for this writer”

  1. Richard Allen Says:
    October 4th, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Keep in mind that whenever any sort of change is suggested by anyone there are two groups who are quick tocondemn it. NASCAR and the power teams.

    NASCAR likesexclusive suppliers for two reasons. First, those companies line their pockets with loads of cash for the right to be the exclusive supplier. And second, the fewer options there are available the easier it is for poorly trained officials to regulate.

    The power teams don’t want anything to be allowed that might let someone catch up to them without spending a fortune to do so. And the tighter the box within which teams are allowed to operate the more money that has to be spent to catch up.

    Safety is not the primary concern of either of the above mentioned entities but it is what they will say in order to keep the status quo.

    I am not advocating a situation in which drivers are put at risk. I am advocating a situation in which competition is improved.

  2. Russ Edwards Says:
    October 4th, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Richard, your comment is 100% correct. Its all about the money from Goodyear - PLUS allowing Goodyear the luxury of not having to in a competitive situation.
    As to the power teams, they would rather be in a status quo situation then one where a competitor could gain an advantage. In that regard the tire deal is similar to the COT.

    My personal preference would be one similar to F1 where the tire company brings two compounds to the track and you have to use both at some point in the race. HOWEVER, this will never happen for the same reason listed above. Goodyear doesnt want to spend the money and the teams dont want to be in a competitive situation.
    Oh well.

  3. jerseygirl Says:
    October 4th, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I know when I read that annoucement, my first reaction wasn’t positive. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, I am still not happy about it, but after all, NASCAR knows what’s good for racing and us fans, don’t they? Yeah, right and pigs will fly.

    IMO Goodyear has NOT done their job by bringing tires that make for good racing. I understand that NASCAR’s kit car made for some early problems, but there’s no excuse after this long with the ugly car.

    Of course, this spec car was also supposed to correct the aeropush problem and we all know that hasn’t been accomplished either.

  4. bill Says:
    October 4th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Let’s make Goodyear the exclusive provider/sponsor … so that no other tire manufacturer in the entire world can even sponsor a car.

    Let’s make Sprint the exclusive provider/sponsor … so that no other cell phone company in the entire world can even sponsor a car.

    Let’s make Sunoco the exclusive provider/sponsor … so that no other gas company in the entire world can even sponsor a car. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Sunoco station.

    How many potential sponsors are being locked out of NASCAR by NASCAR that could be supporting race teams. Just with these 3 products there are probably 15 major companies that could easily sponsor cars if they chose to.

    NASCAR’ll say these companies contribute to the point funds which support the teams …. I am sure that is after they take a big whack at the dollars for themselves while eliminating funding sources that would support the teams more.

    And you are right about the tires …. they hardly are ever getting 4 tires anymore when it use to be a must to be competitive. Tires should grip more, allow for more passing with the risk of wearing them out … like it use to be…. today, run as hard as you want but save gas.

  5. Chris Fiegler Says:
    October 4th, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    What Race will be the Hardest on Tires in 2011?

  6. The Mad Man Says:
    October 5th, 2011 at 10:46 am

    When Goodyear paid Rusty Wallace, Dale Sr, and some other drivers to trash talk Hoosier Tires, we’ve been cursed with Goodyear as the single supplier. A single supplier for anything isn’t good. It stifles competition.

    In addition to the things mentioned by Bill, NASCAR is the sole supplier for the Kit Car. You can’t go anywhere else to buy it. I’m sure that if somebody came up with the same kit at half the price, teams would jump on it thus costing NASCAR a small fortune.

    This is also similar to what’s been going on in the Grand Am Series. Only “approved” shops can assemble the cars. All the parts must be from “approved” suppliers. And Grand Am was doing this before NASCAR started doing it with the Cup Series. And we see how well the Grand Am Series has done at attracting crowds with their version of a spec car series.

    Teams need an option. They need to be able to have more than just Goodyear as a tire supplier just as they need more than one company to supply body parts, suspension pieces, and gears. But that’s not going to happen as long as the current regime of marketing specialists who have no idea what racing is about remain in charge of NASCAR.

  7. Bill B Says:
    October 5th, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Looking back, NASCAR developed this new car and then took the lazy/cheap way out when they said, “Goodyear, you figure out (i.e., spend money on R&D) on how to make the tires work with this crappy car” and then washed their hands of it.

    Goodyear then took the lazy/cheap way out when they said “NASCAR, here is an indestructable tire. You figure out (i.e., spend money on R&D) on how to make it produce good racing”.

    And then to further add insult to injury, NASCAR said the teams, “Don’t mess with anything on the car. Don’t touch anything. Don’t try anything.”

    How can anything get better in this environment?

    So, here were are, cars that can’t pass, whoever is in the lead can strecth it out, and we end up with parades. The way to win involves pit strategy and gas mileage as much as having a good car. What has NASCAR done to fix this…. in order to make the racing interesting we now have wave arounds, lucky dogs, double file restarts, the chase and phantom debris cautions to bunch up the field.

    The answer…, NASCAR and Goodyear should have an agressinve joint R&D partnership that never ends. They should always be finding ways to solve problems and make changes that produce better racing. There are ways to address and fix problems but it costs money and requires effort and persistence.

  8. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    October 7th, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Rich, I wished that Goodyear would have been more open to another Tire War, but, they did the same thing in Outlaws and ASCS and made all the teams go to Goodyear from Hoosier or McCreary and I wish that if there was a tire war, I would like to try it on the Minor Level before Cup.