Tony Stewart vs GoodYear

Discussion in 'Wolfman's Nascar Pit Stop' started by Wabash River Bear, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. Wabash River Bear

    Wabash River Bear New Member

    Tony usually just pi$$es people off with his b.s., but ya got to give him credit for having big brass ones. He said what he felt, and I (not being a T.S. fan) agree with him. Here's a couple news clips about the Goodyear ordeal:
    Driver's remarks send Goodyear into PR spin

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Published on: 03/12/08
    On Monday, Goodyear was peddling a feel-good story: "Goodyear tops Fortune magazine's most-admired list."
    But 24 hours earlier, NASCAR driver Tony Stewart was peddling his own story.
    Allen Sullivan/AJC
    Goodyear mechanics balance wheels at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. on Thursday, March 6, 2008. This weekend will include NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series races.
    Rusty Jarrett/Special
    Tony Stewart

    "Goodyear can't build a tire worth a crap," said the mouthy fireplug of a man known for saying exactly what's going on inside his racing helmet. A frustrated Stewart was speaking after a race Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway about newly designed tires that forced drivers to drive like grandmas.
    But he was just getting started.
    "I'm going home and taking everything that has Goodyears off and put Firestones on and feel a lot safer," Stewart said in another interview.
    "It's a shame these teams that work so hard are being dictated by a company incapable of building tires fit for a street car."
    Georgia State University marketing professor Ken Bernhardt chuckled after watching a tape of Stewart's comments circulating on the Internet on and other media outlets.
    "Oh boy," he said. "I don't know what Goodyear pays. But the worst nightmare a sponsor has is to have an opinion leader in the sport criticize your product like Tony Stewart did. The buzz is out there."

    Loyal fans
    That's not quite the buzz Goodyear was seeking when it paid millions to be the exclusive tire provider for NASCAR.
    William Pate, president of marketing at Career Sports & Entertainment in Atlanta, said NASCAR fans are a loyal lot. He said studies show 70 percent buy products associated with the sport and there's "a huge gap between second place."
    Pate used to run marketing at BellSouth, which sponsored a NASCAR team. "When you do a sponsorship, you're looking for brand enhancement and aspirational: If the NASCAR guys are using the Goodyear line, maybe I should use it."
    And the reverse can be true. Jeff Hampton of Alpha Tire & Auto in McDonough said "word-of-mouth hurts. Anytime you talk bad, that hurts. It's more perception than reality."
    Race cars recently have been redesigned for safety, and a new tire was created specifically for Sunday's race. The tires were made with a harder material so they would not wear down, but that made handling difficult, said Ed Clark, president of Atlanta Motor Speedway. Issues with the handling made drivers more cautious and the race less exciting, he said, and that disappointed fans.
    Goodyear is standing by its tires. Ed Markey, Goodyear's VP of communication, said Tuesday, "First and foremost, keep in mind that the tires in Atlanta performed as intended. There were no tire failures, no heat issues and no wear issues.
    "We have 100-plus years of brand equity built up. ... We feel good about
    our brand, our momentum and our credibility as a company.
    "The benefits we derive from our 54-year association with NASCAR are certainly brand awareness, but also product development," he continued. "Many of the innovations that are developed for our racing tires are subsequently applied to passenger tires. We also believe that our long relationship with NASCAR and several generations of drivers will not be impacted in the minds of consumers simply because of the comments of one driver."
    Jo Ann Hlavac, a hard-core NASCAR fan from South Carolina who runs the Web site and who traveled to Sunday's race, said fans were — and are — furious.
    "I've been to Atlanta a lot of times and have never seen a bad race — until Sunday," she said. "I think it hurts Goodyear tremendously. People are saying, 'I spent a lot of money to go to Atlanta with 13 of my friends and they ruined the race. Why should I go out there and buy Goodyear?' Longtime fans are smart."

    After the firestorm
    Will the bad buzz hurt Goodyear? And how should they counter it?
    Pate thinks the bad word of mouth is "episodic" and will die down unless Goodyear tires keep having bad Sundays.
    Veteran Atlanta PR man Bob Hope said the comments are a "marketing nightmare" but said it's nothing like what Firestone encountered in 2000, when its tires were cited in SUV rollovers.
    Firestone weathered that storm and has regained credibility.
    He said Goodyear must isolate the comments to Stewart, which the company is already trying to do. Other drivers complained, but not as vociferously, or colorfully, as Stewart.
    "It's mostly an ability to calm the storm," Hope said. "You don't want to sound defensive. Be matter-of-fact, comfortable and quick."
    Chris Smith, who works at Strictly Tires in Stockbridge, said NASCAR fans are smart enough to know the difference between tires specifically built for a road race in Atlanta and those to keep the family minivan rolling.
    "You've got to realize we're not taking turns at 180 miles an hour," he said.

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    [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Wednesday, March 12, 2008
    Stewart, Helton verbally spar about Goodyear

    By Mike Mulhern

    Give your opinion on this story
    [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Even after going face-to-face with NASCAR president Mike Helton over the Goodyear tire issue, Tony Stewart isn’t backing off from his charges that Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 was run on tires that were “not acceptable.”
    On Stewart’s radio show, Helton said he felt that Stewart was overreacting. That only served to anger Stewart more.
    Stewart invited Goodyear officials to his show to voice their response to his complaints about what he felt were the effects of a too-hard tire on Sunday’s race, but he said that Goodyear declined. Goodyear issued a statement saying that the company was pleased with the product that it took to Atlanta, and Helton defended Goodyear.
    Helton said that Stewart’s sharp opinions “may be a little bit too strong in this case.
    “What NASCAR asks for Goodyear to do this year, as we run this new chassis is - first and foremost - bring a safe tire, a tire that is safe for the competitors to race on.
    “And then bring one that is durable. And certainly bring one that is consistent, so that everybody up and down pit road has the same tire.
    “What we did have in Atlanta was a tire that did not fail. We had a tire that was safe from that aspect, and that it delivered in an environment that is a challenge right now, because we’re going back to a lot of places with a new chassis, new configurations underneath them, that are throwing challenges at Goodyear.”
    But Stewart repeated his attack.
    “For Goodyear to say they were satisfied with that … if they truly believe they were satisfied with the way the race went I’m more disappointed than ever,” Stewart said. “And I can’t believe that NASCAR is truly, honestly, happy with the results.
    “Mike’s opinion is, I’m overreacting. My opinion is I don’t feel I’m overreacting at all. I feel very strongly. And others voiced their opinions about it. I made mine clearer than everybody else, obviously.
    “I’ve been more disappointed in the past 10 years in Goodyear than most of these guys have. I’ve dealt with them in different forms of racing, and there is a consistent variable there that’s a disappointment in performance, and I think that’s what leads me to be a little more vocal and opinionated about it.
    “My whole theory is if we bark loud enough and long enough, maybe the higher-ups will hear the barking and do something about it.”
    Stewart charged that Goodyear has not kept up with stock-car racing as it has evolved.
    “They have fallen further and further behind,” Stewart said. “I don’t know what the solution is. I’m not a tire engineer, I’m not a tire specialist. But whatever they’ve got going on in the program they’ve got right now isn’t sufficient.
    “We’ve complained for years, on numerous occasions, behind closed doors to Goodyear, and the problem doesn’t get solved.”
    With the Sprint Cup stop at Texas Motor Speedway just three weeks away, and the prospect of a similar debacle at that track, the Goodyear issue certainly won’t fade away.
    Eddie Gossage, who runs TMS for Bruton Smith, said yesterday that he wanted a Cup test before teams arrive for the April 6 race.
    “I reiterated to Goodyear, just as I did to NASCAR last week, that … we would prefer another test before the race,” Gossage said.
    “Failing that, we would encourage NASCAR to add practice time to the race weekend schedule, to give teams a bit more time to get comfortable with this new car and tire combination. We hope after the Atlanta race that they will see the wisdom behind our suggestion.”
    Perhaps one big part of the problem is that Goodyear is trying to use the same tire combination every weekend for the Trucks, the Nationwide cars, and the Cup cars, even though the three vehicles have different dynamics.
    The Nationwide cars have a new engine package this year designed to slow them on the straightaway. But slowing those cars on the straights allows those drivers to run faster through the corners, as much as 15 mph faster at Las Vegas, for example.
    Building a tire that suits those cars apparently means Sunday’s drivers get a rock-hard version.
    “I’ve heard a rumor in the garage where this tire was a happy-medium for what the Nationwide guys needed vs. the Cup guys,” Jimmie Johnson said. “If that is the case, I think we do then need just a Cup tire and a Nationwide tire, not a combination tire.
    “The cars are much different. The downforce loads are different. They are two totally different animals.
    “But this (new) car - the things we’ve all been talking about in how the car drives and handles shows up more on a track like Atlanta than anywhere,” Johnson said. “The high speeds, the abrasive surface, it’s the collusion of all the things we don’t like about the car coming together and really making for a difficult race for everybody.”
    ■ Mike Mulhern can be reached at

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  2. derail

    derail New Member

    Good stuff Mr. Bear! Thanks for the hard work.:0a31: