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Goodyear official calls test of wet weather tires at Martinsville ‘very promising’

A recent test of wet weather tires at Martinsville Speedway proved “very promising,” but a Goodyear official notes that the results also are “very preliminary.”

Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, made the comments Tuesday during “SiriusXM Speedway” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

NASCAR had crews water Martinsville Speedway on April 1 so Kyle Larson and Chris Buescher could run in wet conditions on the oval.

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Stucker told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “historically there has been a lot of concern, us probably leading the charge, around racing in wet conditions at oval tracks.”

The concern was related to higher speeds on ovals than road courses. But NASCAR showed last year it can run in wet conditions at the Charlotte Roval, which combines portions of the track’s oval with an infield road course section.

“The Martinsville test was our first genuine step of trying to identify if there are certain wet conditions on an oval track where we would be comfortable actually racing, either getting a race started under somewhat wet conditions, or returning to racing on a damp wet race track,” Stucker said.

Stucker added that Goodyear tested multiple tire compounds, including its current rain tire. He said information continues to be dissected and no decision has been made on what the next step is.

John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation, told that it would be “certainly ambitious” to have everything in place to run wet weather tires, if needed, this year.

“I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but there’s a lot of data we need to go through,” he said. “We need to not only look at can it be done, but what tracks lie ahead, and there’s a whole lot of different variables that get brought into the mix, including the weather. … I wouldn’t say no, but I certainly wouldn’t sign us up for it either — just yet.”
Larson was encouraged by what he felt driving in wet conditions.

“I don’t really have much wet weather experience, so it was kind of cool to figure that out,” Larson said in a video posted to social media by NASCAR. “Honestly, didn’t drive way different. You could still slow down good, turn good. Drive-off was easy to spin your tires, but other than that, it was kind of fun to chase the grip throughout the portions when it would start drying.

“So it was pretty fun. I think they’ve got a pretty good product that we could honestly start racing with right away if we needed to on these short tracks.”