Weak Rubber at Indy
The Allstate 400 won’t come close to the infamous U.S. Grand Sham of 2005, but word around the Red Bull Racing Team garage stalls is that Sunday’s race at Indianapolis is going to be “ugly.” (More explicit words were used, but we’ll just leave it at that).
Goodyear’s right-side Eagle tire is wearing down — dangerously fast. The Red Bull Toyotas were able to turn only five or six laps before white cords imbedded in the rubber started to show. That’s not good when you’ve already plowed through eight sets of tires in practice and qualifying and have only 10 remaining for the race. And it’s especially not good when you’re pushing 200 mph with a concrete wall up ahead.
For fear of tire failures, only the six Bridgestone-shod cars competed in the 2005 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix, commonly known as the “tire debacle.”
“We can only go about 12 or 13 laps before they’ll blow,” anticipated Phil Jimenez, the No. 84’s race engineer. “There’s going to be a caution about every 12 laps. It’s not going to be pretty.”
Tire wear will be a serious issue until cars turn a significant number of laps and lay down rubber on the abrasive, grooved surface, and NASCAR is expected to throw a competition yellow around lap 15. Until then, and as AJ Allmendinger said, “We just hope to keep it out of the wall.”
The combination of left- and right-side codes was selected after an April tire test with No. 83 driver Brian Vickers, Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Speed Update: Scott Speed, after being 10th in practice, qualified sixth for tonight's ARCA race at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway (8:30 p.m. ET).