DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Goodyear officials say the move to the new Generation-6 car for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series hasn't increased the tire supplier's workload because tire testing had grown in recent years as several tracks on the circuit were repaved.
"Obviously the focus is a little bit different with three repaves that we had in 2012," said Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director for race tire sales. "But this year is the new car and a few other things, trying to keep up with tracks that maybe were repaved in the past ? just to gauge how much the tracks have changed as they age a little bit."
On-track testing of the new car began last season, but Stucker said it became apparent that because the technical aspects of the cars continued to evolve as NASCAR sought to shape the current rules package, little could be learned about how such changes might impact tire wear.
"Our first real good look was (in) October when we went to Texas," he said. "That's when we ran really in the configuration as we knew it then for the 2013 cars. Since then, there's been quite a bit of evolution ? most significantly, we've got more downforce.
"The approach we've taken in our testing, when we went to Charlotte in December and went back ? in January was, 'you know what, there are a lot of things changing here. As long as we feel like we're in pretty good shape with the current package, that's where we're staying until we get an indication that we should change some things.' "
And the things Goodyear officials have seen, he said, haven't been disturbing to the extent that major changes in tire construction or compounds might be necessary. While slight changes will be forthcoming for the tire used this year at Darlington Raceway, for instance, Stucker said that was more to "integrate some of the components that we've done at some of the other intermediate speedways.
"We haven't raced yet, so we're going to watch very closely. We just felt like unless there was something that was alarmingly wrong, because the car is such a big change, let's try to keep the tire packages the same and then we'll go from there. Let's get a race or two under our belts and see what the car needs, let's see how we race and then we can start going from there."
Goodyear officials will return to Daytona International Speedway -- site of next week's season-opening Daytona 500 -- in April, and also have tire tests planned for Indianapolis Motor Speedway in April and Chicagoland Speedway in May.
Stucker said the group also hoped to conduct a tire test at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
"That's as far as we've looked so far," he said. "We're just trying to cover the different configurations (of tracks)."
Now that organizations will be allowed four tests at tracks that host Sprint Cup races, Stucker said officials are working with teams to determine how best to provide the proper tires.
"The teams want to be able to go test on the tire that they are going to race on," he said. "And that's the challenge for us, making sure we have sufficient inventory to handle both what we need for the race and then what the teams need for testing."
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