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IndyCar race winner shares tips for checking your tires

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 7:30 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - A six-time winner in the NTT INDYCAR series and a member of one of open-wheel racing’s most famous families, Graham Rahal knows a thing or two about cars. One of the most important parts of a vehicle; the tires.

“Tires are critical not only for our performance on the racetrack but to our safety,” explained Rahal, who spoke with NewsChannel 7 remotely from Bridgestone America’s technical center in Akron, Ohio. “This is where our racing tires are developed. This is also where they take that technology and influence the street tires.”

Millions of Americans are expected to travel this holiday weekend with many hitting America’s roadways. Rahal says before you pack up the family and leave for your weekend of fun, there are three things you should keeping mind; inflate, rotate and evaluate.

“Inflation. Make sure your tires are up to the proper pressures,” Rahal said. “Inside of the driver’s door jam, there’s normally a sticker. That sticker will give you the manufacture’s suggested tire pressures. You want to make sure they are there. Overinflated or underinflated is not safe and it also will impact things like gas mileage.”

Rahal says it’s important to check those pressures once a month. If you’re not in the habit of doing that, he says it’s extra important to do so before a long road trip.

Next is tire rotation.

“Tires wear unevenly,” Rahal explained. “Side-to-side, front-to-back, they do wear unevenly, and you want to make sure, it’s depending on your car’s alignment, that you get those rotated every five to seven-thousand miles. Go get it done, get the rotation done. Keep your family safe.”

The last piece of advice; evaluate.

“Look over your tires,” Rahal said. “Make sure that everything looks good. Use the penny test, take a penny, turn it upside down, and put it in the tread of the tire. If Abe Lincoln’s entire head is showing, then you don’t have enough tread on those tires and those are unsafe.”

While many families are on the roads to visit friends and relatives, Rahal will be on track in the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend for his home race. As the NTT INDYCAR season hits halfway, he sits in the top ten in the championship and a win could make him a legitimate title contender, something he’s done at the track before.

“I hope so,” Rahal added. “We’ve had a great year, been very consistent throughout the year but I do think that Mid-Ohio is a race that we should be really strong at. Last year we had a double-header, finished in the top-four both times. We’d like to get a win. We won here in 2015 and we’d like to get another. We need to get the monkey off our back.”

That race is Sunday with the green flag set to fly at 11:30 a.m. CST.

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