NASCAR drivers ft. Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott concerned over tire fall-off amid Sonoma Raceway repave

NASCAR Cup Series Championship - Qualifying
#11 driver Denny Hamlin and #9 driver Chase Elliott shared their views amid the newly repaved Sonoma Raceway

NASCAR Cup Series drivers including Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott have recently voiced their concern over the newly repaved Sonoma Raceway as NASCAR heads towards the wine country for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 race this Sunday (June 9).

Sonoma Raceway, California, went under its first repave after nearly two decades and the talk of the town is the effect of this new repave on the possibility of tire fall-off during the hot weekend at the California racetrack.

In a conversation with Bob Pockrass ahead of the second road course race of the season, the 2023 pole sitter of the Toyota/Save Mart 350, #11 Denny Hamlin talked about the possible tire issues on the repaved Sonoma track.

"Not that we've seen now. It's typical kind of heat in the tires, which kind of make it drop off a little bit in time. But, once it cools off, it'll go right back where it was," Hamlin said.

#9 Chase Elliott, the former Cup Series champion with seven wins on the road course apart from the Sonoma Raceway, also shared his views regarding the tire condition.

"It actually is, but it's heat related. It's obviously not wear related. At least it's the way it feels inside the car. So I definitely think you're going to be able to hurt it with heat," Elliott said.

NASCAR owner/driver Brad Keselowski of RFK Racing shared his experience with a tire falling off due to heat and getting delaminated:

"We had one set of tires that was just starting to come apart. So I'm not willing to write that off yet. So this sport loves to play that game when you're thinking you understand and know what's going to happen. That's a 180 (degree) on you."

Keselowski also reminisced about the tire grip issue at Bristol Motor Speedway earlier this season:

"Well, we want to Bristol this spring in our race prep. We talked about don't worry about the tires because the fall race we ran like 200 laps on a set of tires and we could make 35. So, I think it's that slope of enlightenment where you realize that the more you do this, the less you know. So I have no idea."

Apart from the newly repaved track, Sonoma also replaced the tire barrier on Turn 11 with a concrete wall. This was done in response to the course cutting done earlier this season at Circuit of The Americas.


Goodyear introduced a new tire setup for Sonoma Weekend

Ahead of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend at Sonoma, Goodyear announced that they would have a new tire setup on the newly repaved Sonoma racetrack.

Goodyear Race Tires continues to be the official Tire of NASCAR and a title sponsor for the Goodyear 400 race at Darlington Raceway.

The setup would include three sets for practice, one set for qualifying, and six sets for the race (5+1 from the qualifying race).

"Sonoma will introduce a new tire setup for #NASCAR Cup Series teams. Teams will have to take this, and the track repave, into consideration as they strategize for the race," their official X account posted.

Since the tire fall-off at Bristol Motor Speedway, Goodyear has been making efforts with NASCAR to have the formula to step in the right direction. The tire manufacturer also introduced a multiple-tire setup at the All-Star Race in North Wilkesboro. However, the weather plays a pivotal role in the wear and tear of tires irrespective of any other impacts during the race.

As we head towards the 16th race of the Cup Series season, it would be interesting to see how the results and racing tires turn out on June 9.

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