[to top of second column]
It was a decision based on experience. Durability issues at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 2005 produced record cautions and dangerous racing conditions, when tires began popping like balloons. All NASCAR could do to stop it was a mid-race mandate on air pressures.
"Hindsight is 20/20," said vice president of competition Robin Pemberton, who patrolled pit road during the race so he could examine the tires up close and help the officials in the tower decide how to proceed.
Using a different tire wasn't an option, either. Although Goodyear shipped in an emergency allotment of tires it had earmarked for this weekend's race in Pocono, at least one manufacturer ran a simulation on that compound and determined the reserve tires would have been a dangerous 2 seconds faster per lap than the Indy tires. It would have created a major speed change not adaptable to the gear ratios and rev limits programmed for Indy.
NASCAR doesn't get a total pass on the Indy debacle.
The sanctioning body whiffed in failing to hold an open test session at the track, something that's been consistently done in past years.
Once the tires started failing during the test, and Goodyear saw the tires weren't laying any rubber on the track, there's no chance the company would have brought the same compound to Sunday's race.
Without the luxury of a full test, Goodyear had to guess a bit in preparing for Indy. Sometimes you guess right, and sometimes you guess wrong. In this case, Goodyear was clearly wrong.
As the only tire supplier in NASCAR, the company is not subjected to competition from other makers. Goodyear has the NASCAR market cornered, and every team needs its tires to turn even one lap. Its position as the only player in the game means its even more important that Goodyear avoids the blunders it made coming into Indy.
It's not NASCAR fault Goodyear wasn't prepared, and top officials did the best they could to salvage a dangerous situation. Now it's up to them to make sure it never happens again.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor