Based on the multiple tire issues that Sprint Cup Series teams fought a couple weeks ago at Auto Club Speedway and last year’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon is predicting that there will be more issues this weekend in the Duck Commander 500.
“I think as a team we are already looking at things that we were doing last year that we can look at trying to improve as far as abusiveness on the tires for Texas,” Gordon commented last weekend. “My question is did Goodyear test there? Because from what I understand they didn’t test in California and I think that that was obviously a mistake. Because I think so of those things may have shown up in that test. Did they test in Texas and if they didn’t then I hope they have a back-up plan because I do think that we are going to have some issues there.”
Gordon looked to have a chance at the win a couple weeks ago at Fontana when a caution came out late due to Clint Bowyer spinning as a result of his tire issue. Gordon didn’t get off pit road as expected and fell back. Before that point, though, teammate Jimmie Johnson had the dominant car and ran away from the field – to only have a tire issue cut his chances of winning short.
Gordon says that his team started to see issues on Saturday during practice, and detuned their car so that way it wasn’t as abusive on the tires. However, he said that they still had problems throughout the entire race.
“We were one of the fortunate ones that never had one that came apart,” he commented. “Every pit stop there were plenty of signs that it could happen to us just like it happened to anybody else. I think when you have that many cars that are that close to being on the edge or going over the edge then the tire is too aggressive or something else needs to be looked at.
“The teams have all gotten, with the ride heights and everything they are doing, they have got more aggressive no doubt about it. But that is what it’s going to take to win races and if no tire test happens at that track then I think that I would question why not.”
When asked whether teams should learn more about tire management, Gordon says he is good at managing his tires, but tire wear along the base of the tire is a separate deal than the wear issues that they saw with sidewalls. He also added that he thought Goodyear would’ve tested to help learn the cause of the issues.
“You don’t know is it the bumps on the back straightaway, is it the apron in turn three and four, is it speed, is it air pressure, camber? I mean I heard where people were low on pressure came up on pressure and that didn’t seem to fix it,” Gordon said. “When those things are happening it definitely makes you nervous because you don’t want to be that close to the edge. I think we all were very close to the edge.”
Gordon participated in a Goodyear tire test last weekend at Sonoma Raceway, but says that he didn’t have any discussions with them as he was too mad about the situation at Fontana to talk.
“I went and did everything I could to put the best test together that I could there to learn what we could to go to Sonoma and win,” Gordon added. “Tires aren’t an issue there when it comes to that type of situation we had at Fontana. I did not discuss it with them.”