The Tire War: Hoosier vs....
The Tire War: Hoosier vs...
This Goodyear has seen some...
This Goodyear has seen some serious action.
As the World of Outlaws and the All Star Circuit of Champions are in the busy months of racing from three to five times a week is there a problem with the Goodyear tires that a made in Chile? I have gone to the source and asked drivers, owners and car builders. Many had different opinions but all agree that Goodyear isn't the same since they have moved outside of the United States.
Steve Kinser made the switch to Hoosier for the 2000 World of Outlaw season everyone thought that Kinser had made a major mistake. This guy had won so many championships on Goodyear why change? Bob Newton had made a commitment to the King of the Outlaws in doing whatever it took to bring that sixteenth championship, and he did it!
During the Bristol race in June Jeff Shepard and Guy Forbrook covered their right rear tire so that no one could see the code on the tires. The television crews caught wind of this and showed the tire with tape covering the code. At Pike County Speedway in Mississippi Karl Kinser had a Goodyear decal on the wing but Hoosiers on the wheel! Maybe that was for fun or perhaps it could have been for the years of loyalty to Goodyear, but the right rear had the world Hoosier blacked out and only Karl knows why.
the very same race in Mississippi a question was put to Donny Schatz, "Is Hoosier catching Good Year?" As Schatz put it, "They have caught them and passed Goodyear."
That statement proved, along with other tire rumors buzzing around the track, to be a wakeup call to many teams, and Goodyear knew it as they hit the road doing tire tests.
At the June race at Bristol Motor Speedway Goodyear had gotten back to their winning ways. I put the Goodyear versus Hoosier question to Donny Schatz after the he won the Friday primary show. Schatz said they were messed up in the setups that they had put under the car. Donny is very loyal to the people who take care of him and Goodyear is one of them. You can't dispute the success that Schatz has had in recent months with the Pennsylvania races with the wins at Williams Grove and New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey.
In and interview with Sammy Swindell the same questions were put to the soft spoken Channellock driver and his response was relayed to me the only way Sammy knows--honestly. Swindell had brought out the old Goodyears and started winning races. Some of the things Swindell had to say about compensating for loss in the Goodyears was that the warmer months may make the playing field level out.
"Qualifying is an area where the Goodyears are hunting as well," said Swindell. It just takes a longer for the tire to come in and, in qualifying, you can not spare the time. The year started out very rough at East Bay Raceway in Florida back in February.
"We were trying to make that new tire work, we had a new motor and the new tire with the new tread pattern and we probably should have went back to the old tire then but we kept trying to make it work. We had high hopes that tire would work but we now just run the older tire.
"I have been the one who has been involved in the testing but Goodyear had a set back when that new pattern didn't work along with some other things. If they make a change your looking at a two to three week delay in just putting it on paper and then you have to then build the tire and test it to see if it is going to work. It was a big adjustment just moving the operation down (to Chile). It would have been nice if they had taken some of the people from here down there but they decided to use all of the people down there and get things working right. They have gotten better but I was hoping that it would be better than where it is at this point. I feel that we just don't have the same grip in the tire as the Hoosier has right now."
Having said that, however, Swindell does feel that the Goodyears will offer the grip he is hoping to find.
"The grip is going to come to play on the smaller tracks. As we get to the larger places where you slide the car the Hoosiers aren't going to have as much of an advantage. Another thing we have been telling Goodyear is that the smaller Hoosier is a better setup. We can't put monster truck tires on the Sprint Cars and expect them to go fast. The contact patch area has to change because it screws up the geometry of the car. The move to Chile was area in which drivers had lost that feeling that the tires for racing in the US should be made in the US, not in South America. "
a conversation with Jack Elam the owner of J and J Racing he felt the America Racing Tire was a tire that was on the move in Pennsylvania with the likes of Lance Dewease, Fred Rahmer and Keith Kauffman. In the recent World of Outlaw races at Williams Grove, Hagerstown , the Pennsylvania Posse held their own in at their tracks with the American Racing Tire.
"For us in the car building business we don't build cars to the tires we just try to build the best chassis," said Elam.
The changes keep on coming from Goodyear and Hoosier. For example, Kenny Jacobs, the three time All-Star Champion, has left the Goodyear team. Jacobs was one of Goodyears test drivers back in February and continued to test for the manufacturer as late as June. Even though Jacobs is second in All Star points it has been tough on the Sprint Car veteran with more than his share of crashes, and a very costly DQ during the 1200-Pound Nationals in Knoxville as he was seven pounds light after he took the checker. The seven pounds cost him $12,000 payday.
As the 2001 racing year continues we can only hope that this is a learning curve for the racing manufacturing companies in this country, keep it here!