Joe Gibbs Racing Exposes Worrying Reality of NASCAR Drivers at Goodyear’s Expense

Published 09/20/2023, 5:31 PM EDT

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The partnership between NASCAR and ‘Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company’ spans 70 long years. Over the last quarter of a decade, the tire maker has been the sole official tire partner for the top tier of American stock car racing. With such a trusted and lengthy collaboration, it is only obvious to expect that experience would have perfected the on-track performance of Goodyear’s products. But that has never been the case.

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Year after year, drivers like the legendary Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin have expressed their frustration with the tires the company has manufactured. The ongoing season in 2023 has been no exception, with many drivers losing out on crucial points due to safety-compromising blown tires.

One of the teams that has been heavily affected by this issue is that of  Joe Gibbs. The team’s drivers faced many losses courtesy of Goodyear, and its social media team decided to make a showcase of the company on their Instagram handle.

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Joe Gibbs Racing exposes the state of Goodyear’s products in NASCAR

The transformation of NASCAR cars that Goodyear has influenced over the years cannot be taken lightly. Beginning from the path-breaking radial tires in the 1980s to the special road course rain tires in 2018, their engineers have played a meaty role in moving the sport up the ranks of global spectatorship. Despite that, when the racing promotion extended its contract with Goodyear to keep it the “Official Tire Partner”, fans were exasperated with the decision. The repeated tire failures and blow-outs were hindering the chances of their stars and causing a much less interesting experience.

Going into 2023, the scenario was expected to change for the better. But this year too has had several such incidents with drivers, including Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. In response to a question that popped up on their social media handle that went, “Has a tire ever exploded?”, JGR’s media team posted a reel showcasing 5 different blown tires of Goodyear and sarcastically captioned, “A time or two.”

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The display of failures, if anything, underlines the safety hazards that the tires could potentially cause in high-speed races. NASCAR vehicles are capable of reaching speeds of over 200 miles per hour. Without wheels that can bear the brunt of such pace, much more than just points and wins are put at stake when cars roll out to the tracks as history has evidenced.

Watch This Story: Tony Stewart’s Old Enemy Goodyear Angers Nascar Nation With Its Poor Tires at Kansas

The pain Goodyear has inflicted over the years through its tires

Several incidents over the years have reflected the damage that blown tires can do. Perhaps one of the most extreme of them was in 1998, the year after Goodyear became NASCAR’s exclusive partner. Behind the wheel at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s driver, Steve Park, became the victim during a practice session. Going full tilt, his No. 1 Chevrolet burst a tire, leading the driver right into the wall. The collisions that followed shot the car infield where it met the pit road wall head-on and came to a stop. The driver was left with severe injuries, including a broken clavicle and a broken femur.

Another incident in more recent memory is the round of 12 race at the Texas Motor Speedway race last year. On a rainy day at the 1.5-mile oval, the reliability of the tires was in question and Goodyear gave a wrong answer. The race set a record of 16 cautions at Texas. Half of them were owed to tire failures. With flat tires taking out many, including race leaders Martin Truex Jr and Kevin Harvick, NASCAR witnessed one of the worst racing experiences of all time. After finishing at P2, Team Penske’s Joey Logano said, “The tires…They were shaking like crazy. That is what happened there the last run.” 

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Joe Gibbs’ star driver Denny Hamlin, however, took things to a further extreme. Venting out his angst on his social media handle, he’d tweeted his frustration with the NASCAR-Goodyear partnership.

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With just days to go for the 2023 playoff race at Texas, every driver will be hoping that they don’t have to go through the excruciating ordeal they did last year. Goodyear too has recently announced that they will be providing new right-side tires with construction updates for the race at Texas. Let’s hope nothing along the lines of previous mishaps occurs this weekend at Fort Worth, Texas.

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Written by:

Gowtham Ramalingam

365Articles

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Gowtham Ramalingam is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. His love for motorsports stems from his fascination with Formula 1. Possessing an obsession for anything with an engine, the roads eventually led him to the raw grounds of NASCAR and he has been an avid fan of the sport ever since.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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