Firestone’s oval alternates making ripples, not waves at WWTR

Firestone’s first-time deployment of alternate tires on an oval was met with similar reactions from a range of NTT IndyCar Series drivers on Saturday at World Wide Technology Raceway.

With drivers required to complete at least two laps on the alternates during Sunday’s 260-lap race, the rubber was slightly faster than Firestone’s primary compound, but not enough to create an impression that they’ll deteriorate at an advanced rate.

“They didn’t seem wildly different,” said Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who was fastest in the No. 2 Chevy. “That’s my intuition. Hard to say until we do it for real. We’re all going to find out together in the race. But I think off the limited amount of data we have, I don’t know that there’s going to be a big difference between them. With that, it’s not going to give a lot of preference [towards either tire].”


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Conor Daly was eighth overall and fastest of the RLL trio on his debut for the team. Like Newgarden, he didn’t find the alternates to be radically different from the primaries, but he did end the 60-minute session with a strong opinion on which compound he wants to spend the most time on in the race.

“I would say thankfully it wasn’t too big of a surprise,” Daly said. “For me, I was like, ‘Okay, not terrifying.’ It’s not all of a sudden you went out and had a ton of front grip and the thing was super loose.

“I saw a few other drivers; you might miss an apex here or there to try to figure out the entry security compared to how much grip it’s got at the center. For me, there was definitely a noticeable balance change and a noticeable wear. I guess that’s the goal. I prefer the primary tires, I tell you that. But that’s what’s supposed to make it exciting.”

Sunday’s race starts at 3:30 pm ET on NBC.

Story originally appeared on Racer