Following this past weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup second place finish, Tony Stewart was not a happy camper. When interviewed after the race, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver sounded off on his great dislike for the series tire sponsor, Goodyear. Many other competitors, from the likes of Dale Earnhart Jr. to Jeff Gordon, also made comments on the difficult tire/track combination experienced during the race, but the hot-headed number 20 was the only one to forgo any sugar coating. He hinted that the tire manufacturer's departure from other prominent race series was a move resulting from incompetency. He claimed, "They (Goodyear) don't have the technology and the people that are smart enough to build a tire. This was pathetic today." He also threw out a comment on how he no longer felt safe in anything equipped with Goodyear tires, including street use. When all was said and done, Mr. Stewart delivered the sponsor a severe verbal beating.
On Monday, Goodyear issued a reply to the heated commentary with a rather text book response. It contended that the company's exit from numerous race series was simply due to the high development costs necessary to compete, not technical inability as implied by Stewart. They also defended their choice of rubber compound by pointing out the lack of issues during numerous test events, along with the absence of complaints after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. They even mentioned that despite driver grievances, in the eyes of Goodyear and NASCAR, the event was satisfactory. Although, as anyone that received a report card knows, satisfactory should not be the ultimate goal. Goodyear will get a second chance when the series returns to Atlanta in the fall. Hopefully Tony Stewart will have to eat his words once a more extensively tested tire compound is developed for the event.
[Source: Speed TV, Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty]