Goodyear officials are confident that it has been able to fix the excessive tire wear issues that hampered last year's Sprint Cup event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Following seven test sessions since last season's Brickyard 400, Goodyear concluded its tire selection on Tuesday for this year's event at Indy, which takes place on July 26.
Through the last 11 months, a number of Sprint Cup teams and drivers have contributed with their running and feedback in order to help Goodyear build a tire that lasts for a whole fuel run. Last year, tires would not last half a stint before showing cords or blowing up, but after completing this week's test, Goodyear's Greg Stucker is confident that the issue has been resolved.
"When we left Indianapolis last year, there was one thing we were very clear about and that was that we were going to get it right," Stucker said. "I want everybody to be just as clear today that we're very confident we have done exactly that.
"It's been a very deliberate process over the last 11 months, a lot has taken place. It's involved not only the Goodyear racing division but the whole corporation. A lot of people have been involved doing a lot of different things in order to make sure we have a good recommendation for this year's race."
With the Indianapolis 500 run less than a month ago, it was feared that the tests would give the wrong information if the track's surface still had rubber from the IndyCar event. However, Stucker says the new tire allows them to put enough rubber on the track to significantly improve wear during the race weekend.
"We really think we've had a pretty good measure of that from the time we ran two weeks ago to now," said Stucker. "I know one day we had three inches of rain here in Indianapolis. I think we've gotten a lot of weather over the last two weeks and we were able to put rubber onto the racetrack very quickly yesterday morning.
"That's one of the reasons why we wanted to have 12 cars here, to try to simulate that first Friday practice session. I think with this tyre combination we have, the rubber will be put down very quickly and we'll be in very good shape."
Four-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon validated Goodyear's job after testing at the track this week.
"You always expect when you come to Indianapolis that the first couple of runs you're going to see excessive wear until that rubber gets laid down," said Gordon. "We never saw that. I mean, maybe the first run we saw a little bit more than what we saw today, but we never even came close to getting through to the wear holes. It was fantastic.
"I was very impressed that on our first run yesterday, and we ran some pretty quick laps, the excessive wear was not there – which we were expecting, even hearing that they've made such an improvement on the tire. We still expected to see something, and we didn't."