Goodyear to bring modified tires for Eldora Truck race

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The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is racing tonight at Iowa Speedway, but tire manufacturer Goodyear has been busy preparing for the series’ upcoming dirt-track debut – the CarCash Mudsummer Classic presented by CNBC Prime’s “The Profit” on Wed., July 24 at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.

Goodyear has based its tires for Eldora on a dirt modified tire that already exists in its line; however, the Eldora tires will be widened to 11 inches (from 10 inches) in order to give the drivers more grip.

Additionally, the tires will feature bias-ply construction (not as stiff as the radial tires usually found in NASCAR), a tread pattern to get rid of dirt quicker, and a relatively softer compound. The left-side versions will be built about three inches shorter than the right-side versions to provide additional stagger for better handling.

“The Trucks racing at Eldora is a historic event for NASCAR,” said Goodyear director of race tires Greg Stucker in a statement. “Building off our long history of making both dirt tires and NASCAR tires, this process has been both fun and challenging. The Eldora truck race will be a highlight of the 2013 NASCAR season, and Goodyear is proud to be a part of it.”

Goodyear originally tested a 10-inch tire last October at Eldora, with track owner and three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Austin Dillon, and NCWTS driver Ty Dillon handling those duties. Following that test, the manufacturer opted to go for an 11-inch tire, which was cleared for racing at Eldora following a second session with Ty Dillon at North Carolina dirt track 311 Speedway.

The “Mudsummer Classic” will be the first dirt-track event for a NASCAR national series in more than four decades. Anticipation has been strong for the race, which has been sold out since late January.

Marvin Musquin’s Indy win may have come too late

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Marvin Musquin answered one question at Indianapolis last week, but the biggest one may well plague him for the next six weeks.

Musquin has won a battle, but can he win the war?

After standing on the podium in eight of the first 10 races, Musquin finally showed the field he was capable of winning in Indy when he grabbed the holeshot and led every lap on the way to Victory Lane. He was never seriously challenged and it was the Musquin that Supercross fans expected to see all season.

It was a long time coming. Musquin must have felt like victory was just around the corner after finishing second in the overall standings in Anaheim II’s Triple Crown race. He was third in the first Main that night and second in the last two Mains.

As it turned out, that single race defined his season until last week. Musquin stood on the podium all night, but he finished two spots behind Cooper Webb in the first Main and was one spot back in the second. It was only as time ran out that he was able to beat Webb by a single spot in the third Main. If Musquin had won either of the first two Mains, he would have had the overall victory – denying Webb his first career win in the process.

Webb’s Anaheim win revitalized the rider and gave him the confidence to rattle off four more wins in the next seven races.

Meanwhile, Musquin scored podium finishes in the next seven races, making him almost perfect. In another season, a record like that would have been enough to give him a comfortable points lead. In 2019, he sit 14 markers out of first, which is the points’ equivalent of the difference between first and 11th in one race. In other words, Webb cannot lose the points lead at Seattle unless he finishes outside the top 10 while his teammate wins.

Looking at the numbers another way the scenario is not quite as hopeless. Musquin needs to shave only 2.3 points off Webb’s lead each week to win the championship. Three points separate first and second. Five points differentiates first from third, which is where Webb finished in Indianapolis. Webb is vulnerable as his 10th-place finish at Glendale and an eighth at San Diego attest.

Those bobbles came early and Webb seems to have forgotten how to make a mistake.

A third-place is Webb’s worst finish in the last six weeks and since Anaheim II when Musquin started his impressive string of podium finishes, Webb has recorded an average finish of 2.2. That came with a worst finish of eighth on an extremely muddy and heavy track in San Diego. Musquin has a worst finish of only sixth, but his average of 2.8 still lags behind Webb.

Worse still, since Anaheim II Musquin has finished behind Webb in every race except for the outlier of San Diego.

It is no longer a question of keeping pressure on Webb. Musquin cannot expect his teammate to make a mistake; he has to find a way to pass him on the track. If Webb adds only two points to his lead at Seattle, Musquin’s fate would no longer be in his hands. He would need to gain 3.2 points per race. With that scenario, Webb could finish one spot behind Musquin every week and still win the championship.