Frustrated Ryan Blaney Calls Out Goodyear for ‘Absolute BS’ on Tires

Ryan Blaney by car.

Getty Ryan Blaney gets inside car at Bristol.

Ryan Blaney is known for frequently pressing the talk button on his steering wheel and delivering some colorful language over the team radio. The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series champion did just that in the March 17 Bristol race, which was record-setting for the number of lead changes and entertaining because the teams were challenged with tire wear issues, expressing his frustration on several occasions, but it’s the remarks he made after the event when talking with reporters that are worthy of headlines. 

“They (Goodyear) say they brought the same tires, but that is absolute BS,” Blaney surprisingly told reporters, suggesting that the tires used in the 500-lap race were not the same as what was used in September at the half-mile track. When pressed and asked about the tire wear and if it would have been better if the teams had an extra set, the 30-year-old interrupted.

“No, no. If you bring a new tire like this — they’re going to deny they brought a new tire, but obviously it’s different,” he said. “You have to test it. You can’t just show up at the race track and run 500 laps with it. You have to have a tire test. That’s why we do tire tests. Or, if you don’t, this is what it ends up like. 

“Yeah, we want wear and fall off, but you have to have an idea of how it’s going to wear off first and that is at a tire test. You can’t just unload something out of the blue and have what it was today. I bet it was entertaining for everybody to watch. I bet it was wild. A little bit of a wild race and not in a good way.”

Goodyear Official Addresses Tire Issues

Little did Blaney know when he made his post-race comment, but a Goodyear official had already addressed the tire situation during the race and Fox aired it on the broadcast.

“We tested here last year with the intent to come up with a tire package that generated more tire wear,” Greg Stucker, Goodyear Director of Racing, told the media. “That was the request from NASCAR and the teams. 

“So now we’re trying to understand what’s different. Why is the race track behaving differently this weekend than what it did a year ago? It’s the same package. It’s the same tire combination. Obviously, the difference is resin was placed in the lower groove instead of PJ1. Yet, I still think the race track should be taking rubber as it did last fall.”

Ryan Blaney Wasn’t the Only Critical Driver 

Some might suggest Ryan Blaney was frustrated with his performance, a 16th-place result, his first finish outside the top 5 since the Daytona 500. However, the Team Penske driver expressed his frustrations over the team radio at one point early on, suggesting the way the field was driving was similar to that season-opening race. He was asked about it after the race.  

“You know what it reminded me of? It was the Daytona fuel savings,” Blaney said. “That’s what it was. It was literally — we were two-by-two, you’re creeping around there quarter-throttle, saving your tires. And you just don’t know whether you want to go or not.”

Interestingly, Blaney wasn’t alone in his criticism of the race. 2021 Cup champ Kyle Larson wasn’t a fan either.

“Just pitted and accidentally finished fifth,” he told Fox’s Regan Smith. 

“I don’t really know what happened for us to cycle so many positions ahead but I’ll take it. I hope I never have to run another race like that again, but it was kind of fun just to do it, hopefully, one time.”

NASCAR Happy With Bristol Race

While two out of the last three Cup champions were vocal in their critique of the first spring race on the Bristol concrete in four years, NASCAR officials, who were admittedly concerned about the excessive tire wear, offered a different perspective.

“A record-setting day for us,” Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development John Probst told the gathered media, referring to the 54 lead changes, which topped the all-time Bristol record of 41 and became the most all-time changes for the lead in short-track history. “I know the race teams are probably pretty wore out right now. I know our track crew and folks up in the booth are pretty wore out just from a pretty exciting day all around on the track. 

“Certainly had some anxiety around some tire wear and things like that but all in all, I think it was probably one of the best short-track races I’ve ever seen.” 

In other words, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson better get used to the idea of racing on short tracks in the future with more tire wear than they’re comfortable.

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