BRISTOL, Tenn. – Goodyear Racing is eager to know the cause of Joe Gibbs Racing’s tire problems on Sunday in Bristol, and they plan on investigating this week.
Greg Stucker, the director of racing at Goodyear, said the company will take all the tires from the organization who had three of their four cars experience failures. The tires will be examined this week at their lab in Akron, Ohio.
Carl Edwards was the only Gibbs driver who did not have an issue on Sunday. He led the most laps, 276, and won the race.
“The common denominator is everything we’ve seen has come off the Gibbs organization,” Stucker said when asked if there were any similarities between the tires. “The tires off the 20 (Matt Kenseth) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin) look very, very similar. The 18 (Kyle Busch) looks a little bit different, but it’s the same right front position, so we talked with the team just to try and understand as much as we can while here.
“We’ll take the tires back and get them to the lab and get a thorough analysis, but obviously, we’re working with the team to try and understand what it could be and try to solve the problem together because we need to understand that.”
Busch was the first driver to have an issue as he hit the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 52 when a right front went down. At the time, Goodyear said the No. 18 M&M’s Camry had melted a bead, but after his second tire blew on Lap 260 they became uncertain if that was the right diagnosis.
“It had a lot of similarities, a lot of evidence that it was a melted bead – there was some heat there, and I know the wheel temperature was up but the second (tire) was not,” Stucker said. “It makes us question whether or not that first one was truly a melted bead, so we’ll make sure we look at them together and try to understand that.”
Although he did not completely discredited the theory that one of the Gibbs cars could have run over something, he felt it could be ruled out because of how many failures there were.
Kenseth blew a right front on Lap 188, also in Turn 2, after having led 142 laps. He would go on to finish 36th. It was the same issue for Hamlin on Lap 411 on his way to a 20th place finish.
The failures on the No. 20 and the No. 11 Toyota’s, Stucker said, were very similar but Goodyear was still not exactly sure what had caused them. Furthermore, he said it was not uncommon to see one organization have numerous issues, citing how each car could be running a similar setup.
“The important thing is to try and help the team understand and ourselves as well,” Stucker said.
It’s expected to be a couple of weeks before Goodyear has all the results back from their analysis.
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