Feeling Good At Indy: NASCAR Drivers Deem Brickyard Ready For The 400

Rob TiongsonSenior Analyst IJune 17, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 04:   Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on August 4, 2006 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Last year's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was about as disastrous as a Griswold family vacation—overall, it was a mess for anyone at the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway on that July afternoon.

Since the debacle of that race, Goodyear, whose tires could only last for 10 lap runs, has committed itself to producing a quality tire compound that will promote long, green-flag runs.

Numerous test sessions have been held at the 2.5-mile facility for nearly a year, making some strides here and there on the tires, but with some lingering doubts about the pit window for the 400-mile race.

Any concerns for tires and pit window were put to rest, however, during the two day stint held at IMS on Monday and Tuesday.

Drivers like Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, and Kurt Busch were among those who tested the new tire that Goodyear brought to the two-day test session.

Gordon even went as far as guaranteeing the media and fans that this year's race at Indy will not be ten lap and pit stop event of 2008.

"I'm 100 percent confident," Gordon said on Tuesday. "I ran this tire as hard as I possibly could, and this is a dead issue."

2004 Cup titlist Busch agreed with Gordon, saying that the differences between the tires of a year to the ones used in the test were like "night and day."

"The ability to make more than 10 laps has been refreshing," Busch said. "I'm amazed at how much better the tire feels."

However, fans have been somewhat reluctant to buying tickets for next month's Allstate 400—ticket sales have been sluggish at best for IMS. The race, which has traditionally attracted over 300,000 race fans every year since 1994, has been a slow sell in 2009.

Perhaps fans may be comforted by the good news coming from Speedway, Ind. after the successful test sessions held this month.

Gordon, Busch, Kahne, and Goodyear critic Tony Stewart have praised the tire compound which may be used for the summer classic race.

Committed to producing a quality tire for the drivers, Goodyear race tires sales director Greg Stucker said that over 13,000 miles have been logged on the famed superspeedway—hopefully enough mileage to perfect the rubber on the road for what should hopefully be a competitive dash for cash.

"We've got our name on the sidewall of every tire, so it's (having a better tire for the 400) very important to us," Stucker said.

And fans, if you needed more assurance for a quality and competitive Allstate 400, Kasey Kahne perhaps said it best.

"I think we're ready to race," Kahne stated.

The 16th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, July 26, 2 p.m. EDT live on ESPN. Jimmie Johnson is the defending winner of this event.