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NASCAR and Goodyear have some tire-fixing to do

Chris Symeon, Motorsports Editor

The Inside Line Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - After Sunday's tire debacle in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, perhaps a more appropriate name for next year's event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway should be the "Tire-Shredder 400," the "Every 12 Laps and its a Competition Caution at the Brickyard" or the "Your Tires Are Not in Good Hands 400." Clearly, NASCAR and Goodyear find away to fix the tire situation for the second biggest event on the Sprint Cup Series schedule.

And the sanctioning body and the tire maker have a lot of work ahead of them to accomplish that.

This year's race at Indy was simply painful to watch. A track-record 52 of 160 laps were run under caution as NASCAR planned nine competition cautions to allow teams to come down pit road and change their tires. No more than 12 consecutive green-flag laps occurred during the event.

Jimmie Johnson even blew a tire after winning the race.
NASCAR realized it had a major tire issue on its hands during Saturday's final practice. Goodyear tires stamped for next weekend's race at Pocono, PA were sent to Indy for reserve, and teams got an extra set of tires prior to the start of the race. NASCAR held its first competition caution on Lap 14

It was only fitting that after taking the checkered flag at Indy, Jimmie Johnson blew one of his tires while doing a burnout.

In April, Goodyear conducted a closed tire test with the Car of Tomorrow at the famed 2.5-mile track. Kurt Busch (Dodge), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (Chevrolet) and Brian Vickers (Toyota) participated in the test. Goodyear decided to continue with the same tire used on last year's old car. The COT ran at Indianapolis for the first time this year.

The tire problems at Indy were a huge disappointment for NASCAR, and another embarrassment for Goodyear.

Earlier this year, Goodyear used a harder compound for the spring event at Atlanta, which generated severe criticism from competitors, particularly Tony Stewart. The tire was blamed for several wrecks at the 1.5-mile track.

The 2005 Coca-Cola 600 at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte featured a NASCAR-record 22 cautions, mostly for blown tires. Goodyear used the same compound when the series returned to Charlotte later in the year, and it almost led NASCAR to cut the race short because of the tire issues.

In 2006, NASCAR added Charlotte to its six locations for testing during the season, and has been on the test schedule each year since then.

NASCAR did not add Indianapolis on this year's Sprint Cup test schedule, which was surprising since the "new car" ran there for the first time. To not have testing dates for Indianapolis next year would be a serious mistake.

Especially considering what happened on Sunday.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Symeon at csymeon@sportsnetwork.com.

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