Larson finds short-track rain tires ready to race

Image courtesy of NASCAR

Larson finds short-track rain tires ready to race

NASCAR

Larson finds short-track rain tires ready to race

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Kyle Larson enjoyed getting to run on a wet Martinsville Speedway Thursday and felt confident Goodyear has a product that could be used in racing conditions if needed.

“We tested some damp conditions with some different tires, and that was fun; I don’t really have much wet weather experience,” Larson said in a video posted to the official NASCAR Twitter account. “So, that was cool to try to figure that out, and honestly, (it) didn’t drive way different. 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.

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

NASCAR conducted a wet-weather test at the Virginia paperclip to determine if it might be possible to use rain tires on short tracks. Officials are not committing to doing so but gathered data from the test where Larson drove his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, and Chris Buescher of Roush Fenway Racing put his Ford on track.

A water truck was used to wet the racing surface. Conditions were meant to simulate getting racing restarted sooner if the track could be wet, but not necessarily while still heavily raining.

According to NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation John Probst, officials tested different tire compounds. There were wet-weather tires meant for road courses and then racetrack-specific tires that were grooved to transfer moisture away.

“We’re in evaluation right now,” Probst told NASCAR.com. “I would say that we could have come in here today and had a complete disaster and walked away from it saying, ‘No, this can’t be done.’ I think what we learned today was positive for sure. I think that we just need a little bit of time to go through all the data to figure out what are the next best steps. I would say that we continue the journey, and it looks positive for now. Today could have ended it, but it certainly didn’t do that. I feel like everyone involved felt like it was a very positive test, but it’s still fresh and certainly a very, very good first step.”

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