Wednesday, July 30, 2008

NASCAR and Goodyear's Brickyard Fiasco

All my readers know that I am a huge NASCAR fan so you may be surprised to hear my comments on last Sunday’s Brickyard 400. To put it mildly, it was a debacle and I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Goodyear.

The Brickyard is known for the abrasive nature of its track but give me a break! Thousands of races have been run there, never with the result we witnessed Sunday. The track is usually rubbered-in as a race progresses, resulting in lessened tire wear. This didn’t happen Sunday because the Goodyear rubber compound simply blew away like so much dust in the wind instead of sticking to the track as it should have.

To compensate for the tire problem, NASCAR called a competition yellow about every ten laps or so. What ensued was a bunch of race cars lapping the Brickyard at about fifty miles and hour while half a dozen addled race announcers tried desperately and without much success to keep up the buzz, at least when there wasn’t a commercial running. The resulting race, the second most important race on the entire NASCAR circuit, was boring with a capital B.

The flubbed race Sunday rests solely on the shoulders of Goodyear. The tire company mixed up a bad batch of rubber with which to make the tires and NASCAR compounded the mistake by allowing almost no tire testing.

I’m not sure of this but I think the Hendrick group was one of the only teams allowed to test the tires on the track. They responded in the race by being the only team to change four tires on every stop - and they won the race. Did they know something the other teams didn’t know? Did they benefit from this knowledge? Hmm!

Goodyear should have to repay every loyal NASCAR fan that paid hard-earned money to watch a carnival sideshow that didn’t even hire a clown to lighten the situation. Hey, and I think we die-hard NASCAR fans also deserve an apology.

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