Don't make major changes to tire pressures or front cambers based on the tire temperatures until you've had a chance to run the car at full speed for more than five laps. Maximum temperatures allow teams to see the true picture of what the tires are doing. If the temperatures are lower or higher in the middle of the tire, it is an indication of lower or higher than adequate tire pressures. Increase or decrease the tire pressures in 1- or 2-pound increments until the temperatures even out.

If the temperatures at either side of the tire are higher than the other side of the same tire on the front of the car, the cambers probably need to be changed. Having the correct camber is necessary in order for the tire to generate the largest footprint and give the most traction. This should be taken care of right away during practice. Do not make handling changes until the tires have the correct pressures and cambers.

The tire wear also tells a lot about how a tire is working. By measuring the depth of the tire grooves or wear slots across the face of the tire, you can see if the cambers and pressures are correct. This is especially useful for situations in which taking tire temperatures is not practical.

Wear patterns are especially useful for dirt applications. Look at the tire after enough laps have been run for wear to be measured. Wear on a cambered wheel can tell a lot about how the selected camber works with a particular setup. If the wear is on the outside on any of the four tires, the pressures are probably too low. Excess wear on the middle of the tire indicates that the pressure is too high.

It is important to react to any tire problems quickly, whether they are front camber issues, tire pressures, or stagger. As you test and race, setup adjustments will not be correct if the tires don't have what they need in order to provide a good footprint.

Adjust the pressures first, then the camber, and run the car. After you are up to speed and have run several sets of laps, see where the stagger has gone. We are mostly concerned with the rear stagger, but note if a front tire grows more than normal. This may indicate a bad tire or one that is being overused. The tire temperatures will back up the tire growth if the tire is working too hard.

Make all changes quickly after noting a problem. Correct a stagger problem right away, as well, so that you don't chase the setup to correct a loose or tight-off condition made worse by incorrect stagger.

Once a set of tires has been used for practice or a race, mark how many laps the tires have run and note unusual tire growth or tire temperatures on the problem tire. If the car runs loose all night in the race, chances are the RR tire has been hot all along. Recording this information may save problems if the car begins to act funny while practicing with this set of tires in the future.

Store the tires in a cool and dark place. If convenient, cover the tires to prevent exposure to the air. Used tires can always be used in practice or testing, but keep in mind that performance won't be as good as it would be with newer tires.

Once the best balanced setup for the car has been attained, the driver and the tires can use it to do their jobs. If tire cambers, pressures, and stagger have been properly eval-uated, it is up to the driver to take advantage of that performance and drive the car to its full potential. Winning performance begins where the rubber meets the track.