LONDON: The Racing Journal
VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. — It is ironic that the nickname given the city of Indianapolis is “Naptown.”
Sunday’s Brickyard 400 was another big snooze. The race was so bad that even the most ardent media cheerleaders were bored by it.
Among the suggestions to make the race better is to run it at night. IMS is expected to shell out $12 million because NASCAR doesn’t know how to build a competitive race car?
The recent World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway started under sunlight and finished under the lights. It was just as uninspiring under both conditions. It makes one wonder why pundits still rave over the Gen-6 car.
The biggest culprit in NASCAR’s spate of yawners to this reporter is the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.
A little more than 20 years ago, Goodyear stopped making bias-ply tires for the consumer and went all radial. A good idea for their finances since radials cost at least double the amount. Goodyear, without any interference from NASCAR manufactured radial tires for racing.
The result was Dale Earnhardt’s worst year in NASCAR. Harry Gant was no longer a factor and soon retired. The bias-ply tires require more driver input and racers could toss their cars sideways if need be.
The tire now became a far more component.
The Brickyard had become NASCAR’s second biggest race on the Cup schedule. You will recall a few years ago, the tire built for that race by Goodyear was so bad, they wouldn’t last ten laps. Many cars were wrecked and the race was a joke.
Since then, the stands have emptied by a huge amount. Fans are refusing to pay hard-earned money to see the race.
NASCAR fines drivers for saying the truth, which they call “detrimental to racing.” Yet, Goodyear wasn’t penalized for ruining such an important race.
Goodyear and NASCAR have been in bed for a long time. NASCAR needs a new mistress. Goodyear gets to dictate all the tire compounds. Car owners with millions of dollars invested have no alternative but to use Goodyear tires.
I have been long suspicious that the many “debris” cautions in NASCAR are to insure more money for Goodyear. If 40 cars all stop for four tires, that’s more than $76,000 worth for each stop.
Goodyear does not deserve exclusivity. Car owners should have the right to select which brand of tire they’d use. They could probably work out deals that could save them lots of money.
And yes, make the racing better.