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When Goodyear and Firestone Went to War at the Indianapolis 500

Posted April 13, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl

Chapter Eight: Tire Wars

Less evident to casual race fans than the changes being caused by rear-engine cars and Ford engines – but every bit as important to competitors – the simmering battle between tire manufacturers was about to break out into a full-scale war.

Next to the engine, the most important part of a race car is the tires, the key to applying power to the track. For years there’d been little change in tire technology at Indianapolis because they were designed to withstand the pounding of the brick surface. As the track was gradually paved and car suspensions became more sophisticated, tires began to last longer. Engineers discovered they could make a softer tire survive on the smoother surface. The softer the makeup or “compound” of a tire, the better traction or “grip” provided. The better the grip, the higher the speeds.

Firestone, the winning tire in the very first 500 and on every winning car since 1920, was suddenly under attack. While facing occasional challenges in the past, most recently from the Dunlop-equipped car of Jack Brabham in 1961, no other make had come close to winning the race in more than 40 years.

How a near tire monopoly turned into a four-company tire rivalry.

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#1

Re: When Goodyear and Firestone Went to War at the Indianapolis 500

04/13/2017 3:23 PM

So you think the engine and the tires are the two most important parts of a race car.

Google, Tesla and many other car companies are working on making autonomous vehicles. AFAIK no one is even attempting to make an autonomous race car. I think having a safe human driver is a little more important than any rubber or metal.

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Re: When Goodyear and Firestone Went to War at the Indianapolis 500

04/13/2017 7:37 PM

If some people have their way, the only place you would be allowed to drive a car would be at the race track.

It's so jarring to me that there are people who believe computers are better drivers than us imperfect beings.

After all, computers never make mistakes (at least for most of the things they are programmed to do). The problem is that imperfect humans have to write the software for the computers to do their job.

Driving can be such a regional affair. Geography, wildlife, culture of the people, weather, road construction all can vary so much from one region to another, even in the same country, the prospect of educating a computer to be able to handle all that is a VERY daunting task.

Fully autonomous cars will be a niche market in very limited areas conducive to it. People who physically are unable to drive are the prime customers.

This captures the fantasy of a lot of people who I believe like the idea of being chauffeured around so they can attend to whatever other task they would rather be doing. Taking the bus or train or taxi or Uber or Lyft or whatever is just too inconvenient.

I like driving. Even if I was rich enough to afford a full-time driver 24/7, I would still rather drive myself.

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Re: When Goodyear and Firestone Went to War at the Indianapolis 500

04/13/2017 10:20 PM

They finally resolved the tiresome dispute by all becoming re-tired. And that was that.

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Re: When Goodyear and Firestone Went to War at the Indianapolis 500

04/14/2017 10:26 AM

And YOU complained about my amazing maize mazes?

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Re: When Goodyear and Firestone Went to War at the Indianapolis 500

04/14/2017 10:37 AM

Yeah but yours was corny. Mine's merely tiresome.

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Re: When Goodyear and Firestone Went to War at the Indianapolis 500

04/14/2017 7:49 PM

Doh!

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