Contributed by: ACT Staff
American Racer Tire Receives Rave Reviews at ACT
There was a big question mark surrounding the beginning of the 2014 season for the dozen weekly tracks and two touring series of the American Canadian Tour. After nearly a decade of racing with the specially designed Goodyear Eagle slicks, a change was mandated at the end of the 2013 season.
“We faced a seemingly daunting task at the end of the 2012 season when Goodyear announced that they were going to discontinue their short track program. ACT was fortunate to negotiate an extra year with Goodyear to allow us to work to find a suitable replacement tire,” said Tom Curley, President of the American Canadian Tour (ACT).
American Racer, a division of Specialty Tires of America from Indiana, Pennsylvania became the tire of choice. Don Mateer, III is the President and CEO of Specialty Tires of America. “Our company became very interested in working with the American Canadian Tour to fill their tire needs. ACT has been a welcome addition to our family of race tracks and organizations. We are delighted that our engineering and manufacturing efforts have been able to supply the teams throughout the ACT network in the Northeast,” said Mateer. The contract between American Racer and ACT and its affiliates is for six years, with extension options.
Beginning in the Spring of 2013, a joint effort between American Racer and ACT was conducted over a five-month period. There were seven on-site track test sessions conducted in order to develop the final product. Six different race teams at various length tracks, including a 7/8ths mile tri-oval, a flat half mile, a ¼ mile high-banked facility, and the New Hampshire Motor Speedway were used to complete the testing process.
Scott Junod, the newly appointed Director of Racing for Race Tires America, was previously with the Goodyear short track tire program. His association with ACT during those years helped to make the decision to work with Specialty Tires of America much easier for ACT. “We had an excellent working relationship with Scott at Goodyear. When Don (Mateer) informed me that he was negotiating with Scott to join the Race Tires America team that certainly provided a comfort level going forward. The choice of American Racer Tires has become a positive outcome for our tire needs. All former tire accounts have returned, and we actually have added several new accounts,” said Curley.
Early season tire results have proven to be better than could be expected. Tire bills have been reduced with the American Racer tires, wear and repeatability on tires has been outstanding, and what has been very noticeable with the newly developed tire, is just how competitive the tire is during the second half of a long distance event.
“I knew teams would like the tire after they got used to them,” said Nick Sweet whose team was the primary test team throughout 2013. “I have not heard of any complaints or issues during the first couple of months of the new season,” he concluded.
ACT Rookie of the Year candidate Kyle Welch from Newport, NH said, “Our team really likes this new tire. We raced it to a decent finish in the April Thunder Road 150-lap event. I then took the tires two weeks later with over 170 laps on them and ran over 100 more practice laps and the times remained very consistent. That’s amazing! Using just four tires instead of six for 150 lap events is a huge savings over the course of the season for a family-run team like ours.”
Dean Gallison, the Director of Competition at ACT said, “Change is always unpredictable and there is no question that we had lots of nervous teams when the announcement came that we had to make a tire change. Scott McAdoo, Manager of Racing at Race Tires America and Mick McCombie, Race Tire & Project Engineer did a great job designing the exact tire that we needed to keep our racers competitive and the tires cost effective. I especially like that they continue to give their engineering expertise to many of our teams at events and have established very good relations with the ACT management. We have had absolutely no problems with tires at any races or tracks through the first third of the season that I am aware of, and that makes for happy racers,” concluded Gallison.Specialty Tires of America is one of the nation’s oldest tire manufacturers, having been founded in 1915; this is the 99th year of continuing operation. Coast-to-coast dealers and distribution networks with a very strong philosophy of attempting to keep usage costs to the racers down has been the initiative of American Racer from the beginning. That philosophy fits perfectly with the 28-year ACT business model of controlling costs, having large numbers of race teams for both weekly and touring events, and highly competitive racing for stock car fans.