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WATERFORD, Conn. -- The Waterford Speedbowl Late Model division underwent a big change at the 2010 season opener on Sunday -- not in Tim Jordan winning the 50-lap feature, but rather in the tires that carried him to victory lane. For the first time in a weekly NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model race at the Connecticut track, the winner's car sported Goodyear tires.
Waterford Speedbowl changed from a Hoosier tires to the Goodyear D2672 and D2882 tires developed and used by the American-Canadian Tour. The Goodyear tire is built from a harder compound than the Hoosier and is therefore a bit more of a challenge to make handle, but should be a more predictable tire and will likely last longer.
Sunday's weather was nothing short of deplorable -- overcast and windy with temperatures in the low 40s to high 30s -- making the tire even harder to control. The race was marred by many spins and accidents, but still Jordan says the change was the right one to make.
"I think they're going to work, I just think it's a little cold. It's 39 degrees out, but guys have never really raced on [the Goodyears]," said the Plainfield, Conn., driver. "I have some experience with Tour racing with them so I kind of knew what to expect. I knew the car would probably get free on exit. Overall I think it's a great deal."
Jordan has been successful racing against the ACT Late Model Tour at his home track, finishing fifth last year at Waterford as well as testing and racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on the Goodyear tire. He won the 2006 Waterford championship and a total of 18 features on the Hoosier.
Hope Valley, R.I., driver Rich Staskowski was the Waterford championship runner-up last year, and had only raced once on the Goodyear tire in an ACT event in 2008. He finished fourth on Sunday and says he favors the Goodyear.
"I like the Goodyears a lot better than the Hoosiers," he said. In this cold weather they're really tough to get some heat and keep the heat into them, on the restarts they're really slick, but I like them. I think they're going to be a better tire for us and they're going to last longer. The Hoosiers really had a lot of weak sidewalls. I think they're going to be good."
Staskowski said he may attempt some ACT events in 2010 and that running the Goodyear tire every week will help Waterford teams prepare better for ACT events.
"I'd love to do some Tour racing this year. My finances might stop me, but I'm going to try to hit a couple races," he said. "[Running the Goodyear is] definitely going to help me prepare better against the Tour because that's what they run. We have to run what they run to be able to compete with them guys. When we put them on [in the past] we were behind the eight-ball from that moment until we actually got these things dialed in. I think it's a good move for Waterford Speedbowl to switch over to these Goodyears so all of these ACT guys can't have an unfair advantage when they come here."
Jordan is confident that his competitors will catch up to him soon.
"Really, I'm happy with the tire. I'm happy with their performance, they're consistent, they're great, but just a little slick," he said. "They're harder than the Hoosiers we ran on and it's going to take a couple of weeks for everybody to get used to it. I think you saw a lot of accidents that you would not have normally seen because people aren't used to them. That's racing I guess, when they change something on you, you've just got to adapt, and I guess we adapted the best.
"We've got experience on them. Whoever has the most experience usually gets it done, so we got lucky that we have experience on the Goodyear."
(PHOTOS: 1. Tim Jordan won the first Waterford Speedbowl Late Model race run on Goodyear tires; 2. A crew member for Rich Staskowski takes a measurement of the new Goodyear tires. Photos by Justin St. Louis/VMM)