AKRON -- It is one of the fastest sports around, but every lap in NASCAR racing rolls on tires that are hand-built with old school craftsmanship.
For the last 59 years, Akron-based Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has been a continuous supplier of racing tires for NASCAR.
The tires are specially designed and specifically built for each of the 30 tracks used for these elite races.
Any driver and crew member will tell you that wins and losses come down to tires because the entire set-up of their car is tire-dependent. They have to adjust their car to use the tires as best as possible.
But what you see on the track doesn't just stay on the track.
Goodyear Racing's research and development crosses over into commercial production, meaning you can put some of that high speed technology onto your car.
Goodyear's NASCAR tires by the numbers:
- 100,000-plus tires are made each year for NASCAR's Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck series. Goodyear is also the exclusive tire supplier for the top three divisions of National Hot Rod Association drag racing and for Sport Car Club of America racing.
- Nearly 4,500 tires are used in one weekend of NASCAR racing when all three series are running.
- Each tire is designed to last about 100 miles (equivalent to one tank of fuel). The average passenger tire is designed to roll about 60,000 miles.
- The tread on a Goodyear Eagle made for NASCAR is about 1/8th inch thick (width of two stacked pennies).
- During a race, NASCAR drivers and tires can experience up to 3Gs of force in the turns, the same force astronauts felt during space shuttle takeoff.
- When cornering, the right-front tires supports about 4,000 pounds of load. That is about four times what the left side experiences.
- Right-side tires are larger in diameter and are typically filled to a higher air pressure than left sides.
- At 200 mph, the surface area of one tire touching the track is about equal to a half sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper.
- NASCAR teams lease the tires at a cost of $474 each. That works out to $20,856 per team per race for the Sprint Cup for 11 sets.
- All Goodyear tires used in racing are recycled.
Earlier this year, NBC and NASCAR reached a deal that will bring NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series championship events back to network television.