Kansas Speedway the star of NASCAR tire test

Posted at 6:29 PM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 19:29:34-04

It's a NASCAR chase unlike any you'll see on TV.

The drivers start their engines, lap the Kansas Speedway, then switch out tires only to do it all over again.

And, get this, at the end of the hundreds laps, no one walks away a winner.

"We can come here and do everything we want to do," said NASCAR driver with a local connection, Clint Bowyer. "At this point in the season it all comes down to engineering."

Bowyer's team of engineers take load signals from the car, plug them into their computer systems and evaluate how he, his car and the tires are handling the Kansas Speedway.

"We're just a 'test dummies' here right now," said Bowyer. "Really it's just verifying all of the things you think you know but you need to come here and make sure we know so when we go on this chase we can compete at our best."

It's all part of Goodyear's tire test - a faux race that analyzes how the rubber quite literally meets the road.

"Goodyear will do several tire tests," said NASCAR tire engineer David Groseclose. "They will bring different combinations of tires - soft, hard, different construction of tires - to see what works best on the cars and which the drivers like best."

In this chase, the only winner is the tire Goodyear decides performs best. Still, the drivers say still take the test seriously.      

"It's not as much pressure as a race weekend but we are trying to be as serious as we can and as focused as we can to get the most out of the car," said NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson.

While tires are the stars of the Speedway this go around, the next time it's all about which driver will take the checkered flag.

The next race at the Kansas Speedway is on Oct. 18. Goodyear will host one more tire test at the Phoenix International Raceway Oct. 12 and 13 with an open test on Oct. 14.


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