Have you ever wondered what makes NASCAR racing tires different from normal street tires?
NASCAR tires are built to give great traction and prevent overheating on tracks which reach up to 130 degrees. Street and race tires differ drastically, with their only similarity stopping at them both being radial designs. As one sees during pit stops, these tires have to be able to be changed quickly, with the average pit stop taking 2.4-14 seconds. A quick change requires superior hand-eye coordination from the pit crew. To ensure a safe and quick tire change, there are also five lug nuts on each wheel so that they can be quickly positioned and attached to the car. The lug nuts already being positioned and set with adhesive makes it so that the lug nuts do not get cross threaded.
The official brand which produces tires for NASCAR is Goodyear. While Goodyear has been providing tires for NASCAR for the last 60 years, they became NASCAR's official tire brand in 1997. Their Eagle Radical Race tire is the official tire for NASCAR vehicles. Approximately 75,000 tires were used for NASCAR in 2015, with 35 million dollars spent on NASCAR tires in 2016. Each tire set is valued around 2,000 dollars, about 500 for each tire. While Goodyear produces 159 million tires a year, 100,000 racing tires are produced annually and crafted by hand in Akron, Ohio. The factory is connected to Goodyear's main headquarters, and tires are tested and handled meticulously to ensure quality. Each tire is crafted specifically for the track they will be racing on, with attributes to the design including tread, traction, heat resistance, and durability.
Unlike street tires, NASCAR requires an inner liner for tracks which are more than a mile long. An inner liner is much like another tire mounted to the interior of the tire, in case the outer tire succumbs to damage. Tires are also protected by reinforced sidewalls to support heavy loads. The outer tires of NASCAR vehicles look smooth. While the outer tire may look bald, this is actually part of its design. The more rubber on the tire is touching the ground, the more traction the wheel provides on dry surfaces. While treading is great for wet weather design, NASCAR races are put on pause for a wet track or wet weather conditions.
The right and left sides of the car require different kinds of tires and modifications. NASCAR drivers and astronaut launches actually experience the same G-force of 3 Gs. G-force is a measuring system of accelerated force comparative to earth's natural gravity. The most force is put on the right side tires, as they are the ones that take the impact on left turns around corners. These corners mean the right front tire is handling 4,000 pounds of weight while turning. To handle the immense weight, right side tires are inflated to 45 psi (pounds per square inch) while left side tires are only inflated to 36 psi.