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The speedway in Fontana, Calif., is expected to undergo renovations after this year’s race to convert to a ½-mile short track. Regardless of the timetable, Sunday’s race will be the last on the 2-mile, banked paved asphalt oval.
Following last year’s race – the first on the track with the Next Gen car – Goodyear has elected to bring different left and right-side tires this year.
The left-side tire features construction and mold shape changes, while the right-side tire features a construction update.
The compound changes are a result of what Goodyear officials learned from races last year as well as testing at Charlotte, Michigan and Pocono.
Several times late last season – including Kansas, Las Vegas and Texas – Goodyear altered tire compounds based on what was learning in races earlier in the season.
Auto Club also presents one of the most abrasive racing surfaces on the Cup schedule, which always presents a challenge on tire management and air pressure settings.
Daniel Suarez, TrackHouse Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Freeway Insurance
Photo by: Jasen Vinlove / NKP / Motorsport Images
“Auto Club Speedway’s track surface has become quite abrasive over the years, so tire wear and tire management will be a key factor throughout the race,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “Cup teams will have 12 sets of tires for the race, and we will see four-tire stops at almost every opportunity.
“The other thing to watch for is how teams use their left-side air pressures as a tuning tool. Teams will often go below our minimum recommended pressures in order to gain grip, but they will have to balance that in a risk versus reward proposition.”
Goodyear’s tire pressure recommendation is 20 psi on the left-front and 22 psi on the left-rear. By running too low on air pressure, the tire’s sidewall will over-deflect, potentially causing damage to the point of air loss.
Teams will have 13 sets of tires for the weekend – one set for practice, one set for qualifying and 12 sets for the race (11 race sets plus one transferred from qualifying).