T for Texas.  T for Tires, You See…

No, this isn’t a Weird Al Yankovic NASCAR parody of that JImmie Rodgers’ classic Blue Yodel No. 1.  But we are going to Texas this weekend.  And after Martinsville, tires have been all the talk.

With the post-Martinsville focus being on the latest Short Track Package’s failure to produce the desired results, NASCAR is now looking to Goodyear to now build a tire that will have suitable performance to produce a decent product on-track.  So, this week, tire and tire performance has been all the rage. 

With that said, Goodyear announced Cup would be running the same tire set-up this week in Texas that they ran here in the 2023 Playoff race and at the Spring 2024 Las Vegas race earlier this year. They plan to use the same combo later this season at Kansas and Nashville.

At Texas last year, this tire combo produced 2155 Green Flag Passes with 677 for P1-P15 position. The passing was distributed mainly to the back of the field, with 69% of the passes taking place at P16 on back.

Texas had 6 Green Flag Lead Changes-2 on Starts/Restarts, and 3 when the Leader pitted under Green.  Kyle Larson got the race’s only Racing Lead Change. Bubba Wallace led the most laps. Tyler Reddick was the only other driver who led double-digit lead laps. William Byron went on to win the race.

At the 2024 Las Vegas race this tire combo produced 4659 Green Flag Passes. 1151 were for P1-P15.  This meant that 68% of the passing took place P16 on back.  If repeated this weekend probably won’t be seen on FS1 this weekend.

Vegas had 17 Green Flag Lead Changes with 6 on Starts or Restarts, 8 when the Leader pitted under Green and gave the Lead up. 3 were Racing Lead Changes. William Byron got 1 RLC while Kyle Larson got 2 and the Race Win. Kyle Larson dominated the front, leading 161 of the 267 laps. Kyle BuschDenny HamlinWilliam Byron and Daniel Suarez each led double digit laps but none more than 18.  

 A general view of racing during the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 03, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

If these previous performances are any indication of future results it looks like HMS has this tire combo figured out, getting all 4 RLCs. Kyle Larson may hold a bit of an edge since he did hold a 3-1 advantage and found the Lead at both tracks. But Byron is coming off a win on Sunday and that may be the momentum he needs to go back-to-back.

The increase in RLCs hopefully points to a positive trajectory but could also be the difference between a Playoff race and Regular Season race.  Hopefully, the schedule shift out of the Playoffs will result in more action and higher numbers.

Just looking at the numbers, these passing numbers are very similar to the short track metrics for the races everyone is having meltdowns over. Two weeks ago, Richmond had 1 RLC just like Texas did the last time we were here.

I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I guess we’ll have to see if the cars can pass for other positions before adding Texas to the growing list of “panic” tracks.

But with all that said, Loudon, Darlington 1 and Gateway are also intermediates with just 1 RLC.  Phoenix 1, Las Vegas 1, Kansas 2 only had 2 RLCs each.  So, if RLCs are an indicator then the issues may not be confined to just Short Tracks.

After the string of Short Tracks, we sure don’t need similar performances on an intermediate.  Kansas and Nashville will be here before you know it. Although the tire compounds for the return to the Brickyard have not been announced yet, concerns have already surfaced about Indy’s return to the Brickyard, with its flat Martinsville-esque turns. 

I sure hope we see an improvement in passing on Sunday. I plan to tune in then to find out. Please join me and we’ll find out together.

Till then, sing it with me…

Give me a T for Texas, give me a T for Tires, you see

Give me a T for Texas, give me a T for Tires, you see

If these tires don’t wear out, no passing is there going to be…

Everybody together now…


See you Sunday!

Race On… and Stay Safe!

David Nance

Photo Credit (cover):  James Gilbert/Getty Images


  1. David, I just found this and realized I had not read it yet. How it slipped by me, I have no idea. Must be an age thing…lol…BTW, love that Jimmie Rodgers yodel – Thanks!
    I have never been a fan of the Texas track. I still watch all the races and I try to see things that happen on the track with different drivers that the broadcast team fails to mention. Tires are one of the things we pay attention to. Most races, I think most of us notice those things and wonder why no mention.
    I admire you for being able to dissect a race and provide us with stats which make us really stop and think. I thank you for that.
    Keep them coming, David, and I will keep reading. I love how you wrote some verses for the Jimmie Rodger’s Blue Yodel and I kept trying to yodel as I was trying to sing them. Note, I did say trying..and with trying, I failed so I think I will just use Eddy Arnold’s Cattle Call, lol.

  2. Eddy Arnold’s is what I grew up with and after all these years I still can’t catch the hang of it.

    Thanks for your kind words. We’ll keep digging. It’s about all this nerd can do anymore. Sure can’t yodel, that’s for sure.

    Take care!

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