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Motorsports Notebook: Goodyear takes technology from the street to the track

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Aug. 09, 2013

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is set to unveil some tire technology new in NASCAR later this month but not new to cars on the street.

Goodyear announced Friday it will use a “zone tread” technology for its tire selection at the Labor Day weekend Sprint Cup series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

For its new Atlanta right-side tire, Goodyear has combined one compound to help control heat on the inner half of the tread with a different tread to give the cars more grip. It will be paired with the more traditional left-side tire run at Atlanta last season.

“Atlanta is one of our biggest challenges from a tire perspective. The abrasive surface causes extremely high wear, while the length and layout promote very high speeds,” said Stu Grant, Goodyear’s general manager of worldwide racing.

“What we’ve done here is take a specific rubber compound and limit the application to the inside shoulder, and then have a more tractive compound across the rest of the tread.”

The “zone tread” technology was first utilized by Goodyear in 2004 for its Assurance TripleTred passenger tire. That tire used three distinct tread zones for wet, icy and dry conditions.

Goodyear tested the new compound on NASCAR tires this past week at Atlanta with more than a dozen teams.

While four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon didn’t participate in the test, he believes the zone tread tires could be a good compromise.

“I have heard about it, understand the concept and it sounds really interesting and that it has great potential,” Gordon said.

“Everybody has to work together to allow (Goodyear) to make tires that have some fall-off and that can wear and don’t just build a lot of heat and blister.”

Fox Sports signs sports car racing deal: Fox Sports and the International Motor Sports Association agreed to a five-year multi-media rights deal to broadcast all United SportsCar Racing and Continental Tire Sports Car series races beginning in 2014.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

In September 2012, Grand-Am and American Le Mans series announced they would merge into United SportsCar Racing in 2014. The new series’ races will be broadcast on either Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports 2 beginning with the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Truck team penalty issued: NASCAR Truck driver Timothy Peters and his No. 17 team were penalized this week after his truck failed post-race inspection last weekend at Pocono Raceway.

Crew chief Butch Hylton was fined $5,000, Peters was docked six driver points and team owner Tom DeLoach was docked six owner points when the roof failed to meet the minimum height requirement.

In a statement, the team blamed the violation on a “shock malfunction.”

Hendrick testing New Hampshire: All four Hendrick Motorsports Cup drivers – Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – will take part in a two-day test beginning Tuesday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Gordon also took part in a tire test June 25-26 at the track, which will host the second race in this year’s Chase.

Kelly to make Cup debut: Owen Kelly will make his Cup series debut this weekend at Watkins Glen, driving the No. 51 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing.

Kelly, an Australian with roots in V8 Supercars, has raced twice in the Nationwide Series with a pair of top-five finishes at Road America.



Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter
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