How Hot Do NASCAR Tires Get?

Have you ever wondered how hot NASCAR tires get during a race?

These tires are not your ordinary everyday tires.

Key Points:

  • NASCAR tires must endure extreme temperatures and speeds up to 200mph during a race.
  • Various factors, such as track surface, air temperature, and racing style, affect the tire temperature.
  • Temperature guns and tire probes are used to measure tire temperature for optimal performance on the track.

Tires are specifically made for different track surfaces and can withstand very high temperatures and speeds. A tire blowout at 200 miles per hour during a race can be very dangerous for the driver and spectators.

During a NASCAR race, the tires can reach temperatures of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. To cope with this extreme heat, the tires are usually inflated with nitrogen instead of regular air, as nitrogen is a gas that is less reactive and thus provides greater stability.

As a result, NASCAR tires are subjected to heat cycles, and this changes the tire’s grip. Following each heat cycle, the tire generally becomes tougher.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the science behind NASCAR tires and explore how they are built to withstand the intense heat and pressure of a race. So buckle up and get ready to learn more about the incredible engineering behind NASCAR’s tires!

The Importance of Tire Temperature

One of the most critical factors in NASCAR racing is tire temperature. Tire temperature affects the grip, handling, and performance of the car on the track. The tires must be at the optimal temperature to provide the best performance and prevent tire failure.

During a race, the tires experience high temperatures due to the friction between the tires and the track. The temperature can reach up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause the tires to lose grip and traction on the track. This can lead to accidents and tire failure, which can be detrimental to the driver’s performance and safety.

Teams use various methods to manage tire temperature, such as tire warmers, which heat the tires before the race to bring them up to the optimal temperature. They also monitor the tire temperature during the race to ensure that the tires are not overheating or losing grip. The tire temperature is a critical factor that teams must consider when developing their race strategy.

Factors Affecting Tire Temperature

There are several factors that affect the temperature of NASCAR race car tires during a race. These include:

Track Surface

The surface of the track is a major factor in determining tire temperature. Some tracks are rougher than others, which can cause the tires to wear more quickly and generate more heat. Additionally, some tracks have a high banking angle, which can put more stress on the tires and cause them to heat up faster. Crew chiefs and engineers must take into account the specific track conditions when choosing the tires for a race.

Air Temperature

The air temperature also plays a role in tire temperature. Hotter air temperatures can cause the tires to heat up more quickly, while cooler temperatures can cause the tires to cool down. Teams must monitor the air temperature throughout the race and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Additionally, the humidity level can affect tire temperature, as higher humidity can make the air feel hotter and cause the tires to heat up more quickly.

Driving Style

The driving style of the racer can also impact tire temperature. Aggressive driving, such as hard braking and quick acceleration, can cause the tires to heat up more quickly. Smooth driving can help keep the tires cooler and extend their lifespan.

Additionally, the amount of time a driver spends on the track can affect tire temperature. Longer races can cause the tires to heat up more than shorter races.

Measuring Tire Temperature

Measuring tire temperature is crucial for NASCAR teams to optimize their performance. There are two main methods for measuring tire temperature: Infrared Temperature Guns and Tire Probes.

Infrared Temperature Guns

Infrared temperature guns are a popular tool for measuring tire temperature. They work by measuring the infrared radiation emitted by the tire’s surface. This method is non-invasive and allows for quick and easy measurement of tire temperature.

However, infrared temperature guns only measure the temperature of the tire’s surface and do not provide an accurate measurement of the internal temperature of the tire. For this reason, tire probes are often used in conjunction with infrared temperature guns.

Tire Probes

Tire probes are long, thin instruments that are inserted into the tire to measure its internal temperature. This method provides a more accurate measurement of the tire’s temperature as it measures the temperature at a depth of about 3 to 5 mm below the tread surface.

However, tire probes are invasive and require more time and effort to use compared to infrared temperature guns. Additionally, tire probes can potentially damage the tire if not used correctly.

Overall, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages and are used in combination to provide the most accurate measurement of tire temperature for NASCAR teams.

Optimal Tire Temperature Range

NASCAR race car tires are designed to withstand high temperatures and speeds. However, it is important to maintain an optimal temperature range for the tires to perform at their best.

The optimal temperature range for NASCAR tires is between 180°F and 220°F. This range is critical for the tire to provide maximum grip and traction on the track. If the tires get too hot, they can start to lose grip and become slippery, which can lead to accidents.

On the other hand, if the tires are too cold, they can become hard and lose their ability to provide grip and traction.

Managing tire temperature is crucial for NASCAR teams to achieve the best performance on the track. Teams use various strategies to keep the tires within the optimal temperature range, including:

  • Using tire warmers to heat up the tires before the race
  • Adjusting tire pressure to control the temperature
  • Monitoring tire temperature during the race and making adjustments as necessary

It is also important to note that the optimal temperature range may vary depending on the track and weather conditions. Teams must be prepared to adjust their strategies accordingly to ensure the tires are performing at their best.


Based on the information gathered from the search results, it is clear that NASCAR tires are designed and constructed to withstand very high temperatures and speeds. The tires are filled with nitrogen to help regulate the tire pressure and reduce the risk of overheating.

When a car is racing at high speeds, the tire can experience extreme temperatures due to the friction generated, which can cause the tire to rupture and create a dangerous situation for the driver. The tires have to be changed in a very short time throughout a race, which requires incredible hand-eye coordination and teamwork.

The weight of the tire is also a crucial factor in the performance of the car. NASCAR tires weigh around 27 lbs, and the combined weight with the lug nuts comes out to 50 lbs. Tire wear and tear are also significant factors in the performance of the car, and the excess rubber comes off in the form of rubber dust and molten pieces referred to as marbles.

In conclusion, NASCAR tires are a critical component of the car, and their design and construction are carefully considered to ensure optimal performance and safety during the race. The tire temperature and wear are monitored closely by the pit crew, and any issues are addressed immediately to prevent any accidents or mishaps during the race.

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