Rash Of Tire Failures Leads To Mayhem At The NASCAR Auto Club 400

Auto Club Speedway is known for having one of the most abrasive track surfaces of any NASCAR circuit. It causes massive amount of tire wear, but this year's Auto Club 400 was just too much. Tire after tire completely burst, leaving the winner to be really the guy with four pieces of rubber left.


And it just happened to be Kyle Busch.

The leader of the race changed countless times as one person would grab the lead, then be forced back to the pits or watch the rubber bags of air beneath them explode.

Jimmie Johnson held the lead with only five laps to go before his race was completely destroyed. Parker Kligerman (who can't catch a break), Kevin Harvick, Justin Allgaier, Greg Biffle, Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., lost tires, too.


Pit strategy became everything, with even squeaky-clean Jeff Gordon getting a penalty for speeding through the lane. But it wasn't really Goodyear's fault – this year's rule change came down so late that by the time they got the new regulations, they'd already committed to using the same tire as last year. Plus, as Dale Jr. so eloquently put it:

This wasn't as bad as Formula One at Indy, but holy crap was this a crazy race.

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To be fair, tire wear can be managed. NASCAR allows for 3.5deg of camber at the rear and 0.5deg or rear toe. Teams run 3.5 and 0.5. If tire wear is an issue the have the option to mitigate the tire wear by backing off those values. Let's not jump all over Goodyear or Auto Club Speedway because there were plenty of teams who finished with 4 whole pieces of rubber.

I believe that this track has produced some of the best intermediate track racing in the series over the past several years and the rough, worn surface provides the tire wear and difficulty in finding the perfect setup that makes this happen.