200th Post--Tire Debacle at Indianapolis
- Kyle Busch/3004-100 bonus points
- Dale Earnhardt, Jr./2751-85 bonus points
- Jeff Burton/2733-40 bonus points
- Jimmie Johnson/2689/85 bonus points
- Carl Edwards/2684/65 bonus points
Monday Afternoon Update:
There is more than enough blame to go around. NASCAR does not get off scot free--Indianapolis is their biggest race as far as attendance goes. You might think that a full blown test in July could have been added (as the May 2008 test at Lowe's was) so all of the chassis problems and tire problems could have been revealed and resolved. It's not the ideal situation to be finding out about problems in front of 200,000 plus fans (more paid attendance in the seats than at any other NASCAR venue). That dog failed to hunt. And the new car still needs work.
Goodyear has a rich racing heritage with enough NASCAR, CART, NHRA and Formula One wins to fill a large trophy room. Heritage is the operative word here. Ever since Sir James Goldsmith tried a hostile takeover of Goodyear, the company has been treading on eggshells as far as their auto racing program vision. A racing program is not a short term payoff item (which is attractive to bean counters and traders in Goodyear stock). It has a longer term payoff which is not easily measured--but the payoff exists. The blame at Goodyear does not fall at the feet of racing boss Stu Grant, Racing Tire Marketing Manager Greg Stucker or NASCAR Tire Engineer Rick Campbell. It is properly directed at the top management. If the Goodyear CEO would have the same zeal for racing as, for example, an Edsel Ford, I could assure you that the Akron Tech Center could produce the kind of tires that could win in every form of auto racing--as they did when Leo Mehl ran that program. Take the handcuffs off the racing division--and you will see results. Want proof that this approach works? A lot of Michelins are sold from their sports car involvement--any racing car that can complete a road race on one or two sets of tires has a good tire. The 2005 situation with Michelin at Indianapolis occurred when the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone, and the teams wouldn't work together. The fans then, like yesterday, didn't get what they paid for.
I'm wondering how many people saw the performance at Indianapolis, and decided not to put Goodyears on their vehicles. That would be a shame--because the company, as I said before, makes a very stout street tire (Eagle RS-As are on most police cars--and you know what they go through).
I'll leave you with a two part question: Who do you blame the most for Sunday's Brickyard fiasco? And why?
We'll rejoin you from Pocono.