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NASCAR Physics 101: Why Tires on Sprint Cup Cars Keep Failing

If there was a secondary and even more important story to come out of last weekend’s Sprint Cup race in New Hampshire—besides the sweep of the weekend by Brad Keselowski—it was the early retirement, for the second weekend in a row, of six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. Before the race had gone past a dozen laps, Johnson’s blue and white Chevrolet had not one, but two left rear tires fail in succession. The second failure caused a spin that put the No. 48 Lowe’s machine backwards into the wall. The damage was severe enough to force Johnson out of the race. He was scored 42nd for the second weekend in a row. (For the record, the previous week’s early exit was due to an early, multi-car pileup in Day...

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