NASCAR tires are among the most important components of the car. Without measuring them properly, NASCAR cars can experience severe handling problems during a race. Because close attention to detail is needed, you may therefore wonder whether NASCAR tires are balanced.
NASCAR tires are balanced, but instead of teams balancing the tires, a group of Goodyear employees called tire busters are responsible for the job. NASCAR’s Next Gen single-lug nut tires are balanced using adhesive weights of various sizes, rather than hammer/clip on weights.
Below, we will fully elaborate on how NASCAR tires are balanced, and why balancing is so important to a car’s handling. We will also explore the process that a NASCAR tire goes through before a race, during their time on the track, and even what happens to them following a race.
Do NASCAR Teams Balance The Tires?
NASCAR teams balance their tires with the help of Goodyear employees who will balance them for the teams. They will balance the tires the same way for each team, and once balanced, Goodyear will give the car back to the team, and the tire specialist may then take other measurements.
The tire specialist’s job is to inspect the tires, provide appropriate measurements, make adjustments, and do their part that will help build the best possible car on race day. One thing to note is that the types of tires used for each race will not be the same as the previous race or even the next event.
For this reason, even if they have been part of a team that raced in the Daytona 500 over the past 10 seasons, they need to put in 100% when they’re working with the tires. Because tracks are repaved, or in some cases, reconfigured, specialists must put in as much work on a particular race weekend for the current season as they did during the previous one at that same track.
How Are NASCAR Tires Balanced?
To balance a NASCAR tire, a team of specialists known as tire busters will apply adhesive tire balancing weights to the insides of the rims where required with 2” aluminum tape. Xfinity and Truck series vehicles that run 5-lug nut wheels may use hammer on tire balancing weights.
The NASCAR team’s tire specialist takes over once Goodyear’s tire busters finish. The tire specialist must ensure each tire, depending on where they will be placed on the car (right front, left front, right rear, or left rear), has both the appropriate amount of tire pressure and that they contain the same chemical makeup. They also measure each tire’s dimensions.
Another measurement includes tire depth, and they must log the depth of each tire accurately. This allows each NASCAR team to know how quickly each tire should wear during a race, and this is why you’ll see NASCAR teams scrape their tires. They do this to clear off any dirt and debris picked up by the tire so they can get an accurate tread depth measurement.
This allows the team to gain a more accurate understanding of how the tire is wearing during the race. Once they gain more insight on tire wear, they will make appropriate adjustments to the car in ways that they can best utilize the tires. However, there’s no point in having all of this data if the tires aren’t balanced in the first place.
Obscure, But Important
There are other aspects that also affect a car’s handling, but if a team puts four random tires onto the car, the driver will be the first to notice just how much randoms will affect their handling. This is why Goodyear’s tire busters are such key people at a NASCAR race.
KEY POINTS• NASCAR tires are balanced by Goodyear employees known as tire busters
• They balance the tires using adhesive weights
• Tire balancing is key to the performance of the cars
What Happens To The Tires After A NASCAR Race?
Following a NASCAR race, teams do not keep their tires. Instead, teams hand their tires back and they are sent to NASCAR’s Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, where they are inspected before being recycled by Liberty Tire Recycling.
NASCAR has long partnered with tire recycling company Liberty Tire, who will repurpose each tire following inspection. You can imagine that through 36 points-paying events in the Cup Series plus races in the Xfinity, Truck, ARCA, and Roots events that NASCAR sanctions, Liberty Tire is quite busy, and they recycle and repurpose an estimated 300,000 NASCAR tires per year.
There is no shortage of what Liberty Tire can do with the rubber that once graced a NASCAR track. Some become part of a fuel concoction to provide power to paper mills and utility boilers. Sometimes, Liberty Tire helps convert the tires into rubberized mulch.
And finally, you may also find that the compound of your new pavement on your main road may contain old NASCAR tires. They call this rubberized pavement, and it is becoming a popular choice for streets.
NASCAR tires are balanced by Goodyear employees, who may use a variety of adhesive weights on the inside of the rims to balance the tires if need be. Once balanced, the tire specialist takes over and they ensure every tire for each side of the car clocks in at the correct measurements.