Love, others see tire blistering, flats in Xfinity return to Iowa

By Matt Crider | Staff Writer 

NEWTON, Iowa — The NASCAR Xfinity Series returned to Iowa Speedway on Saturday for the first time since 2019, and the chatter at the track turned to tires.

Several teams experienced blistering on their Goodyear racing slicks, with some tires going down and putting cars into the outside wall.

Jesse Love had a right-front tire go down on Lap 150 of the HyVee Perks 250 while running 14th, ending his day. His No. 2 Chevrolet then caught fire while being towed past the infield medical center.

“We were just blistering tires pretty early in the runs,” Love said. “I think it was going to be OK, but maybe some contact that we had eventually cut a tire down.”

Love said his tires had about 60-70 laps on them and were producing “a lot of vibration” after having chunks of rubber fly off.

“I tried to fill that hole on that restart by [Cole Custer] and try to get close to the lead, and I think that maybe punctured a little hole in it because it started getting really tight,” Love said. “I thought we had a tire going down or close to it, and once it got really bad it just blew on me.”

While most flat tires were on the right-front corner of the cars, Austin Hill lost a left-front with 33 laps remaining.

“I don’t want to put blame on Goodyear or anybody like that. It could just be the teams trying to be aggressive with air pressure; I don’t really know,” Hill said. “But there’s definitely something going on. Not saying that ours is the same as theirs or not — we could have just run over something for all I know. But definitely we had some type of issue that was similar to the other guys. It just seemed like it was left-front instead of right-front.”

Justin Allgaier lost a right-front tire and crashed with 48 laps to go.

“Once that happens you’re just kind of a passenger along for the ride,” Allgaier said. “Tried to save it all the way to the wall, and unfortunately that wasn’t happening. We’ll regroup and go on to next week.”

AJ Allmendinger completed just 32 laps of the scheduled 250 before a right-front failure put him in the wall and ended his race. Teammate Shane Van Gisbergen didn’t lose a tire but got loose and slid up the track into Blaine Perkins, taking out both drivers.

Van Gisbergen also crashed Friday in practice.

“I just sort of got a little bit loose and tried to save it,” Van Gisbergen said. “It’s pretty hard to be happy after wrecking two cars, so I’m pretty gutted for the Kaulig Racing guys.”

Sam Mayer won the race after beating Riley Herbst on the final restart — a two-lap overtime shootout.

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