A new policy for air pressure requirements is expected to be mandated for Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) and its Short Track U.S. Nationals event (May 19-21, 2017) after a successful track-hosted tire test on Wednesday with Hoosier Racing Tires.
A pair of Super Late Model racers, Donnie Wilson of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Dalton Armstrong of New Castle, Indiana participated in the test.
The goal of the session was to ensure the measures needed to be enacted to produce a highly competitive race. Now, event officials inform us that they expect to have a “mandated minimum tire pressure” for competitors. This same policy is currently used in NASCAR with another tire manufacturer.
The expectation of the rule comes after a tire was cut on the No. 2 Super Late Model of Donnie Wilson as he entered turn three in the afternoon session. The result was his car hitting the outside retaining wall. Wilson was not injured in the incident.
“(The tire pressure) was too low and what it did was it killed the sidewall on my right rear and it popped going into three,” Wilson told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “There needs to be a mandated air pressure on the tires… can’t run them that low.”
Wilson said it’s all part of what a tire test is supposed to accomplish. A lesson was learned due to the unfortunate incident.
“Hoosier… they’re doing so much for our sport. They’re doing the best they can, it’s just a low (air pressure) tire deal.”
Wilson safely exited his car after crashing into the outside safety barrier.
“This is my first time I have been on the track with a safer barrier and it definitely did its job,” Wilson explained. “I could barely feel the hit really.”
After Wednesday’s test, Irish Saunders of Hoosier Racing Tire stated that he was pleased with how everything went with all of the divisions testing.
“We were really happy with the way that the tire test went today,” said Saunders, Business Unit Manager for Asphalt Racing at Hoosier. “We had recommended air pressures for everyone and if they stay within the parameters of the recommendations there shouldn’t be any problems. We were really happy with how the test went.”
CRA Managing Partner R.J. Scott, who was also on hand for the test on Wednesday, was satisfied with the results and is confident in the tire Hoosier is providing the racers.
“Three other late models went out multi times after Donnie’s accident, and they had no issues at all,” Scott said. “They ran more laps multiple times and one of the cars ran their fastest laps of the entire day. The racers were confident in the product and they proved to be correct. Unfortunately, Donnie’s issue may have been air pressure related. I know all the other racers where happy with the Hoosier tires we tested; it’s just really unfortunate for Donnie, but the positive news was that it was not related to tire construction at all. I think that is evident in the results of all the other racers and it will probably be even more evident when Donnie comes back to Bristol to race on that same tire package, where he will absolutely be one of the favorites to win.”
Officials from the sanctioning bodies involved, as well as Hoosier, have two more optional test sessions at the track, on April 29 and May 13. The ARCA/CRA Super Series, JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, CARS Tour and Southern Super Series will all be involved in the Late Model portion of the testing.
“It’s been pretty productive; we had a few hiccups, and it took us a little while to get up to speed,” CARS Tour Director Chris Ragle said. “Once we finally found what worked and settled in it’s been great and we are kind of locked in on what we need to do now.”
Minimum tire pressure rules are also expected to be enforced for all other divisions competing at the track in May.
Tickets for the Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway are now available online through the BMS website. For those unable to attend, the event will also be available via an online broadcast at Speed51.com. (Click here for more information.)
-Contributions to this story made by: Hannah Newhouse, Brandon Paul & Bob Dillner
-Photo credit: Speed51.com