Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tire Troubles Making News in Michigan (Updated)

Update #4: NASCAR will move to ABC at 4PM for the green flag, looks like IndyCar will move to the ESPNEWS network for the remainder of the race.

Update #3: ESPN just tweeted that Nationwide Series racing will be on the ESPNEWS network begining at 3:30PM. IndyCar stays on ABC.

Update #2: At 2:15PM, still waiting for IndyCar to start on ABC. NASCAR NNS is scheduled on 3:30PM ET. It's going to be interesting to see what will happen. Looks like ESPNEWS network might be the location that IndyCar goes in progress if the green comes for NASCAR. The current NASCAR TV contract calls for live TV coverage from green to checker flag.

Update: NASCAR has added a 6PM practice session for 75 minutes and SPEED will carry it live. The 24 Hours of Le Mans coverage will move to the website. The network will also be cutting into the Le Mans coverage as needed to update the NASCAR tire story still unfolding.

The late news from Michigan was that NASCAR and Goodyear were making a change for Sprint Cup Series teams this weekend. It was a problem with left side tires blistering that got their attention.

With speeds hovering around 200 mph, almost a quarter of the Cup teams had left side tire trouble due to the heat when using new tires. Rather than scuff in tires for the field, Goodyear decided to bring in a new tire with a tougher tread compound for the race.

The teams will qualify on the present tire, then use the new left sides in a special 6PM Saturday night practice session scheduled for 75 minutes. That will be the only opportunity to get things dialed-in for the Sunday race.

"With the new repave here at Michigan, coupled with the high temperatures we're seeing this weekend, we feel this change will help us put on the best race possible on Sunday," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR VP of competition in a media release.

The first NASCAR TV comes Saturday at 11AM and it is ESPN2 on the air with Nationwide Series qualifying. It should be interesting to watch and see how ESPN approaches this Sprint Cup Series story.

Next up is Sprint Cup Series qualifying on SPEED at 1PM. This is the time of the year when a diverse group of announcers are in place for sessions like this. If Darrell Waltrip and Kyle Petty are the analysts, it may make for two very different opinions on this topic. This will be the first NASCAR TV of the day for SPEED.

At the present time, there are no plans to televise this added practice session, but SPEED does have a thirty minute version of SpeedCenter scheduled at 7PM between segments of live 24 Hours of Le Mans coverage. That will probably be the best TV location to get updated information on the results of this change and how drivers and crew chiefs feel going into the Sunday race.

We will keep updating the tire story on this post, please feel free to add your comments. We are interested in how both ESPN and SPEED cover this issue. Comments may be moderated prior to posting.