Tyler Reddick conducted a Goodyear tire test for the Next Gen car Tuesday at Darlington Raceway.
Some comments from Reddick and NASCAR’s Brandon Thomas after the first day:
Tyler Reddick on wanting to test at Darlington
I heard how much different this car was, and I wanted to see it for myself. Darlington is one of the top 3-4 most challenging tracks we get around. It might be the most difficult. This track in turns 1-2 is different than 3-4. I really wanted to get to drive this car and see what this thing’s like at a track that I’m comfortable at. I have a good understanding of this track, and what it takes to get rubbered in and what direction to go to hopefully find us the best tire.
Reddick on Day 1 of Goodyear Tire Testing at Darlington
This is a tough track. The surface is aggressive and really creates some amazing racing with the tire fall off. But it’s a tough challenge to get this track rubbered in with only one car and really get the long runs going on a green track that has sat this long.
Reddick on the differences in tire between current version and Next Gen car
One of the obvious differences is the tire profile and the 18-inch wheels versus the 15-inch wheels we have on the current Cup car and all the other cars. Understanding that feel and knowing where the limit is on a tire with less sidewall profile, especially at Darlington which is already really hard to get a hold of.
Reddick on the potentially landing the first Next Gen Darlington Stripe
I haven’t yet. We’ve just been trying to get the track rubbered in. That’s just a product of this track. You’ve just gotta get it rubbered in. No Darlington stripe yet. We’re getting close, fallout wise, where I can start doing it. With the track being greener, when you get really close to the fence in 3-4, it’s really eating through the right rear tire, so you lose all consistency in that grip. That’s what’s been holding us back in exploring the Darlington stripe.
Brandon Thomas, NASCAR Managing Director of Vehicle Systems, R&D, on the importance of testing the Next Gen Car at Darlington
There’s a reverence for the track that is Darlington. So when you take a brand new car, and you bring it to a track with this much history, you want to make sure the car respects the track. Reddick got out one time and was like, ‘This still drives like Darlington.’ And that to me is important. We don’t want to fix Darlington. Darlington is what it is, and people love it for what it is. So we don’t want this car to white wash this and make it something that it’s not. We want the car to come here and still slide around, still have to play with the throttle, still have to play the track, and that’s exactly what Reddick said it did.
Thomas on the goal of this week’s test
The goal is to leave here with Goodyear having enough information to make a decision on the tire for next year’s events with the Next Gen car. Day 1 has been very good. A lot of short run stuff where they can test a lot of options. Just looking towards what’s the grip level like, what’s the fall-off like, what’s the feel of the car comparatively.
Thomas on why this test was held at Darlington
When we sit down with Goodyear, they really laid out a set of tracks they wanted to test at. What makes a track important to Goodyear is the loading and the relative roughness of the surface and also, to a degree, how that surface reflects other surfaces on our schedule. When you come to a track like Darlington, where tire falloff and loading is very similar to a track like Homestead, this track doesn’t give them everything they need to know about Homestead, but gives them a direction of what could work there.
— NASCAR —