Before we get into Team 14 and their run- we need to address the tire situation. I know that Goodyear claims that the teams were at fault for the tires but I have trouble with that. Why? Because multiple teams experienced issues across manufacturer platforms. Every 25 laps or so there were a rash of tire failures. To me that speaks of an issue with the tire compound. Yes I know that Goodyear brought the same compound as they brought last year and that there wasn’t a problem before- but the cars have a different rules package that affect down force this year. The engineers at Goodyear maybe should have thought of that and either brought a different compound or at the very least issued some sort of bulletin to the teams.
Let me tell you why I care about tire failures beyond the fact that they are dangerous: Auto Club is consistently ragged on for being a boring race- that it should have it’s race taken away and given to another track. This year, from my seat, the racing was GOOD! The cars were moving around and passing and it was just exciting. Many drivers were able to recover from problems and make it back up towards the front (I am looking at you Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart) over the course of a race. To have that interrupted so much by cautions due to tire failures was FRUSTRATING for me as a fan. That is not fun- to watch your driver over come something like a wickedly handling car (Tony Stewart- which we will take about later) or a pit road speeding penalty (Jeff Gordon) and make it back towards the front. (more…)