A tire test at Michigan International Speedway saw fast speeds and happy drivers.
The daylong tire test allowed teams and Goodyear to check out the new tires the teams will race when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series return in a few weeks.
Goodyear has selected a new combination for the two-mile racetrack – a combination of the original tires from the April test and a slightly softer version of the harder tire used during the June race.
Though top speeds were not official, some drivers went about 210 mph on Monday, but only averaged about 195 mph, a little slower than during the previous test in April and the June NASCAR event at the track.
The last time drivers were at MIS, the tires were very hard, a last-minute change when some drivers experienced blistering on their tires during practice sessions.
To avoid bringing back the same tires, Goodyear developed a new combination.
“Back in June was our first race on this new pavement. We digested everything we saw over the weekend, in practice as well as what we had in the race,” Greg Stucker, director of Racing Tire Sales for Goodyear, said. “We digested that and looked at all the data, poured over all the comments we got from the teams and drivers, made our recommendation for our package coming up in August. That is why we were here today for, just confirming that.”
Twenty-eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams participated in a daylong tire confirmation at Michigan International Speedway on Monday.
Michigan International Speedway became NASCAR’s fastest racetrack in June. Marcos Ambrose's speed of 203.241 mph for the Quicken Loans 400 was the 11th-fastest pole-winning speed in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history and the first time the pole winning speed was faster than 200 mph at a track other than Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway.
But NASCAR driver Greg Biffle thought the speeds, though slower, would lend themselves to exciting racing at NASCAR’s fastest racetrack.
“Since the speed is down just a tiny bit I think you will see that groove continue to widen out. I have even floored it down lower on the race track and the car has some turn in it down there. I think we are going to see some good racing,” Biffle said. “We were all fearful that this tire would be really low on grip and the car would be hard to drive and it would chatter out from under us. That is certainly not the case.”
Michigan son Brad Keselowski agreed.
“Michigan is a lot different track with the repave, and we saw that here with the spring race. So we’re all still just trying to get a grip on that, literally, and trying to figure it out,” he said. “So Goodyear has us here to kind of reconfirm some things that we saw and hopefully improve the racing another notch here at Michigan International Speedway. So we’re just trying to help out here as we can and also make our cars better at the same time. So it’s a good process for all.”