Miscellaneous Car Racing and Tires: How a NASCAR Driver's Team Figures Out What...

Car Racing and Tires: How a NASCAR Driver’s Team Figures Out What Tires to Change


With NASCAR being the most prestigious racing event in the world for muscle cars, you may be curious about the types of tires they use. You’re probably even tempted to use the same tires of your favorite racers because you’ve seen their mettle tested.

While there are trusty products that every NASCAR driver likes to use for racing like Jeff Jones and his Hankook Tires, there are a few elements that go into what helps a driver better.

NASCAR is vastly different from regular driving, and your daily driving experience is not going to be the same to that of a speed racing driver; knowing their techniques might just give you insight on the important elements to look for when buying a tire. 

In this article, you will learn how NASCAR teams figure out what tires to use and when they change it up.

1. Tracks Matter

Teams have to figure out what track the driver will be driving in, whether it’s tri-oval, true oval, or D-shaped. They need to know this beforehand because it will affect what load and construction of the tire will be. For example, if a driver has to make sharp turns on corners, they’ll need a front tire with a higher load. 

The material the surface is made of is also very important. Most tracks will either be asphalt or concrete. Some will be a  combination of both where the corners are made of concrete while the straightways are made with asphalt. 

By knowing these little details, NASCAR teams can predict the wear and pick an appropriate tire. Tires made with a hard compound last longer, while those made with soft compound will wear faster, but they provide better grip.

If it’s just a road course, teams can use the same size tires for all sides. However, oval tracks may require that teams use a different size tire on one of the car’s corners to make it turn around corners faster. The right side of the track travels a longer path so it will perform best if the tires on the right side of the car are an inch wider. 

2. Budget Matters Too

NASCAR decides how many additional set of tires each team has. Shorter races will require fewer sets while longer races require more tire sets. However, not all teams will have the ability to buy all the sets allowed due to budget constrictions. This is especially true for smaller teams. It is up to them to strategize and pick the set of tires that will give them the speed and wear to last the race.

If they don’t lease their tires from NASCAR’s exclusive provider, they have the option to get their wheels from another manufacturer as long as it meets NASCAR’s requirements. The wheel should be made of steel and have a bead diameter of 15 inches. 

3. No Treads

You may notice that NASCAR tires are completely bare of treads. This actually works to the driver’s advantage because a bald tire will have more contact with the ground which makes the car go faster. Treads on tires only work well on wet roads, something that we casual drivers can greatly benefit from. But for NASCAR teams, races can only happen if the tracks are dry. If it rains that day or the track is wet, the event is cancelled. 

4. Radial Tires Only

Due to the special driving nature of speed racing cars, NASCAR teams will only use radial tires. These tires are specially designed to withstand high temperatures and fast speeds while still maintaining good traction. They also have to be easily changeable. 

5. Assessment

NASCAR teams pay a lot of attention to their tires from the time they install it up until it gets used. In the beginning, they’ll inspect the tire, check its pressure, the compound its made of, the circumference, and how hard the rubber is. Once it’s off the car, they check different parts of the tire for temperature, and even the wear holes. This allows them to understand how the car is performing and what they can do to make it better.
We hope this article gave you some insight into the world of NASCAR racing and tires.What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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