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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Explains How Goodyear Consumer Tires Are Influenced by NASCAR

How similar is a Goodyear tire on a racecar to a street tire on a regular car? I asked NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt Jr. and came away surprised by the similarities.

“There is a lot learned in the failures of these tires,” said Earnhardt. “And most of that ends up being geared toward safety. Goodyear takes that data from the racetrack and it impacts the consumer product.

“With most of the tire failures, it is heat related stuff. Heat and force. The tires made for NASCAR absorb two tons of force. When a NASCAR team has a tire failure, as soon as that tire comes off the car on pit road, the Goodyear techs are there inspecting it. Goodyear wants to know, because they use all that data.”

Goodyear is obsessive about data — and the information gathered at the track via RFID chips in tires has a direct effect on consumer production. The Eagle race tire and the Eagle high-performance street tire are more similar than you might think.

  • The race tire is 11.5 inches and the street tire nine inches.
  • The race tire weighs 24 pounds and the street tire weighs 30 pounds.
  • The race tire has a tread thickness of 1/8 inch and the street tire is 3/8 inch.
  • The race tire maintains air pressure of 30–45 psi, and the street tire 35 psi.

The biggest differences are cost ($449 vs. $150–$200), lifespan (100 miles vs. 50,000 miles) and the way the NASCAR tires are produced and monitored.

Every Eagle race tire is made by hand at the world headquarters in Akron, Ohio. A single tech can make up to 40 tires per day.

Tires are custom-made for each track. A tread compound is selected for each individual race based on the surface characteristics of the track. Similarly, up to 30 ingredients are used in the composition of a street tire. The ingredient proportions depend on the performance goals of the tire.

But it wasn’t all just tire talk with Dale Jr.

I asked Dale a series of regular guy questions that had nothing to do with racing. An avid fantasy football player, I asked him about his fantasy football draft strategy and he gave a surprisingly in-depth answer.

“I think you’ve got to go running back first round, maybe even second round depending on what’s out there. You can find good consistency deep in the wide receiver pool, and you want to take a quarterback down in the 6th round or later. Maybe even take a tight end before you take a quarterback.”

Sticking with the regular guy theme, I asked Dale his favorite app (“Pandora”), his preferred email client and if he dreads looking at his inbox each morning (“It’s an exchange account on a personal server. My emails aren’t bad. I get between six and 12 a day.”) and about his high school soccer career (“I sucked. I was terrible.”). Check out the interview at i80sportsblog.com.

For more information on tires, visit Goodyear.com.

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