By Lee Elder
When Goodyear inked the agreement that made the company the Official Tire Company of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, it was with the understanding that the Akron, Ohio based manufacturer would build tires that would help make the driver a larger part of the competitive equation.
That mission was accomplished and now the benefits are spreading all over the sprint car racing map.
Goodyear is the Official Tire Supplier of the King of the West Series, a California-based circuit that can boast of its reputation as the raciest winged sprint car series in the region. The King of the West Series cars are built to the same specifications as the Outlaws cars and this year the western drivers race on the same line of tires Goodyear supplies the national series.
Tim Kaeding, the San Jose, Calif. driver who is a former champion of the series, said, “We ran on (Goodyear tires) last year with the Outlaws, traveling when we did. It’s a good tire. I think it keeps the racetrack ripped open. When it (the track) slicks off, you’ve still got a good tire.”
Jonathan Allard, of Chico, Calif., agreed and said, “They’re real racy. They’ve taken us back on some of the stuff that we have to re-learn…It’s a good technical tire.”
Kaeding and Allard were with the King of the West Series last weekend when the circuit raced at Santa Maria Speedway, a one-third-mile oval.
“The nicest thing about them is to be able to race close with everybody and to know where we’re at on the racetrack,” said Allard. “Putting that back into the racers’ hands is a big key.”
Kaeding and Allard are among the drivers in the hunt for the 2011 King of the West championship, so tire selection is an important decision for them before every race. Goodyear supplies a wide selection of tread compounds for each corner of the car and, interestingly, both Kaeding and Allard typically select Goodyear’s 100 compound for all four tire positions.
“Out here on the West Coast,” said Kaeding, “the 100 is the tire you want to run with. We’ll put a 200 on occasionally with rubber down on the track or if the track’s really heavy in order to free the car up some…The 100 is a tire that is capable of lasting through the night. It’s a tire that will stay with you to the end of the night if you need it.”
Allard explained, “In California the tracks are a lot heavier, the dirt is a lot wetter. It holds a lot of moisture and it doesn’t dry out as quickly as they do typically in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Once in a while, when the track is drying out and the rubber is getting down, that’s when we go to a 200 (compound tire). It doesn’t seem to make a big difference when we go to a 200 because the structural integrity of the tire works real well with the performance of the car.”
More information about Goodyear’s sprint car racing program is available at www.racegoodyear.com. More information about the King of the West Series is available at www.kingofthewestsprintcarseries.com.