A Bad Set of Tires in NASCAR
What Is A Bad Set of Tires?
Whenever you hear a NASCAR driver or crew chief complain about a bad set of tires it doesn’t mean that the tires are bad – just that the 4 tire combination didn’t match up as well as the other sets of tires that were used.
NASCAR’s Goodyear Racing Eagle’s are individually built by hand at Goodyear’s plant. Every tire is slightly different, and it’s the teams tire specialist to take the tires Goodyear provides and match them up together for a race run.
There can be a hundred differences between two identical looking tires. Some of the things the tire specialists take a look at are:
- Overall tire height
- Tire circumference
- Spring rate
- Tire pressure
- Tire codes
- Build date
The tire specialist matches the tires up into sets based on data form the tire measurements and data from previous races to achieve the bet balance and drivability for the driver.
Goodyear may build as many as 6,000 tires for a big race like the Daytona 500. While they all might have the same specifications, tire No. 327 may be very different from tire No. 5,999.
A tire that Goodyear builds on Tuesday can be worlds apart from one it builds on Friday, even though they are from the same tire run.
Tires are built by human hands, and each one comes out different. Imagine trying to do the same task exactly the same way for 500 times in a row. There are gong to be minor variations from tire to tire.
The team tire specialist will enter all their data into a complex chart or spreadsheet and match up the tires based on the driver’s preferences.
Some sets will match up better than others, and when a driver doesn’t like the way the tires perform he’ll usually say he got a bad set of tires.