Cup teams shocked by tire wear, seek help from NASCAR

Some Cup drivers are hoping NASCAR will give teams an extra set of tires and add a break in the final stage of Sunday’s gravel race at Bristol after excessive wear in Friday’s practice sessions.

“At Eldora we have run over 100 laps on one set of tires,” Chase Briscoe said of Truck racing on gravel. “I didn’t think the tires would be even a thought. It definitely surprised me. “

Alex Bowman said: “Tire wear is a bit of a concern.”

Denny Hamlin said he hopes NASCAR will make changes to help the teams ahead of the series’ first gravel race since 1970.

“I would be surprised if they don’t change some kind of rule between now and then, or give us another set of tires or maybe another warning,” he said. “If they don’t, then we run on slick tires. We all run on slick tires. You just have to make sure you do better than everyone else. “

Hamlin said he can feel in three laps that the rear tires had lost grip, but he also said: “I didn’t see someone just lose control because they were on a broken tire. It is the same for everyone. You have to do the best you can. “

Sunday’s final stage is scheduled for 100 laps in the 250-lap race. NASCAR previously changed the format of the race. Teams cannot add fuel or change tires, except during stage breaks. The field will freeze during the breaks of each stage. Teams will maintain their race order as long as they complete their pit stop at the NASCAR designated time.

Since teams cannot gain positions on pit road, they are leaving their pit teams at home. That has led to the request for an additional break at the final stage.

Kurt Busch explained in a video he posted on social media that “the tires are suffering a bit from excessive wear with a big heavy race car and lots of horsepower.”

Briscoe said the track has contributed to the tire problems.

“It seems like red clay is always more abrasive for whatever reason,” he said. “I think we probably need to do something. Our car, especially, it seems that after 20 laps we are already showing chords. You probably need to do something. “

The racing surface came from Tennessee. Steve Swift, Senior Vice President of Operations and Development for Speedway Motorsports, spearheaded the project. He explained in comments circulated by Bristol Motor Speedway earlier this month how the track decided to use the red clay.

“There’s a lot of science in dirt racing and the type of dirt you run on,” Swift said. “We had to look for different types of soil, there is a lot of red clay in the area, but there is good red clay and bad red clay. We have spoken with many experts, with people who know a lot more about dirt than anyone would want to know about dirt.

“We take samples and send them out to be analyzed and found the right mix. Once we found the right dirt, it was a matter of how to get it to the site in a timely manner. We found enough to cover the track and have a great running surface. “

Rudy Fugle, William Byron’s crew chief, also wants an extra set of tires and a final stage break.

“I definitely think 100 laps is stretching it (with one set of tires) right now, unfortunately the way the track is,” Fugle said. “It could improve, but it could be the same or worse.”

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