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SONOMA, Calif. -- Officials with Goodyear said it was a combination of increased speed and heat buildup that led to Tony Stewart's crash on Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, was one of six drivers taking part in the two-day Goodyear tire test. According to a news release from Goodyear, Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet hit the wall after losing air in the right-front tire. Stewart was 17 laps into a 20-lap run.
"Tony was approaching the end of a very strong 20-lap run," said Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director of racing, "with his lap times as much as a second faster than what has become the norm at Indianapolis at that point of a run.
"It appears that increased, sustained speed over that run generated a significant amount of heat, which eventually caused the right-front to go down. Those are the conditions we have to consider in making the right decisions for the race."
Stewart, a two-time winner of the Brickyard 400, was not injured.
"We blew a tire," Stewart said Friday at Sonoma Raceway, site of Sunday's Toyota/SaveMart 350. "It destroyed the car, so it was a good hit."
Stewart said he was unsure of the cause, "but that's part of tire testing.
"That's why you go to the test," he said. "I'm sure they'll learn something from it and go on."
Also taking part were drivers Greg Biffle (Roush Fenway Racing Ford), Clint Bowyer (Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota), Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota),Joey Logano (Team Penske Ford) and Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet).
The Sprint Cup Series returns to IMS on July 27 for the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard.
"Our test speeds were extremely fast at Indianapolis," Stucker said. "Like a lot of race tracks we've been to this year with this new car package, it appears the race pace can be significantly faster than it's been in the past. Because of that, we have to make sure we come back with a recommendation that is robust enough for the conditions we'll have in the race.
"The weather conditions during the test were exactly what we have to come to expect during the race weekend in late July -- pushing 90 degrees and sunny. That enabled us to evaluate the tires we brought under the proper conditions."
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