When stock car racing began in the 1920’s it was a way for bootleggers to avoid capture during prohibition. There were no rules and the goal was simply to get away. It wasn’t until 1948 that Bill France, Sr. started NASCAR and began regulating it as an actual sport. In many ways NASCAR has come a long way since its humble beginnings. The safety procedures and regulations have made the sport safer for drivers as well as spectators. The technology has made the racing even more competitive but even more so improved performance in ways that early drivers would never even dreamed about. One of the most remarkable improvements is the tires.
As any car owner knows, tires are an important part of the car. They provide traction that keep the vehicle on the road in adverse conditions, help maintain consistent gas mileage, and ensure a smoother ride. While all of these are true of race car tires, NASCAR has taken tire technology to new levels.
Goodyear, the official tire manufacture for NASCAR, is embarking on new journey to create an even more efficient, faster tire that will take stock car racing to new levels. Research is conducted at each stage—before, during and after—of the race.
To begin a maximum of 11 sets of tires is leased to each team for both the qualifying and actual race. Each tire has an RFID chip embedded in it to track where the tire is at all times and ensure that no alterations are made that could give one driver an advantage over another. During the race, and after each pit stop and tire change, measurements are made on the once smooth tires to allow the pit crew insight into how the track is running and what changes need to be made to make them more efficient. After the race Goodyear collects the tires to creates data on each race and track to make improvements on their tires and then the tires are recycled.
At the beginning of the 2013 season NASCAR introduced the new Gen-6 cars challenging Goodyear to take their tires to the next level as they create the fastest pair NASCAR has yet to see. The evidence can already be seen. One of the biggest races, the Brickyard 400, was run at the beginning of August. During the qualifying veteran racer Jimmy Johnson set an all-time track record of 187.438 mph. At the race the next day Ryan Newman broke the record set the day before with a race time 187.531 mph. As technology continues to improve, it’s only a matter of time until these records are broken again.
Watch this 5 second tire change at the Daytona 500