Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president for competition, says the issue is not with Goodyear, but the teams trying to push the limits of tire pressure and suspension.
"When you have an issue, and I won't call it a tire issue, I will say that there's an issue of abuse of tires as much as there is anything, so you can't put a blanket over any of these things or any racetrack or anything like that," Pemberton said. "I think the general consensus is this racetrack races fairly well. It's got a great raceable surface, it's wide, a lot of grip, guys like to move around the racetrack. You see good speed. ... This is one of our best surfaces that we run on for the year."
Greg Stucker, director of racing tire sales for Goodyear, told a small group of reporters midrace that a number of teams Sunday were running drastically reduced air pressure in an attempt to gain a grip advantage -- even after experiencing tire issues in practice Saturday.
"Our recommendation is 20 psi left rear, 22 left front and 20 [right side]," Stucker said. "I don't like to share what specifically guys are [using], but they are significantly lower than that. We're not talking about a half a pound or a quarter of a pound. It's more significant than that. And that's what the guys do. I don't want to put the onus anywhere, but that's what they try to do to push every part on the race car. We understand that. But we try to be just as aggressive letting them know, 'Hey, we're definitely concerned.'"
One driver who didn't experience any tire issues was Kyle Busch, who celebrated his second consecutive last-lap victory at Auto Club Speedway.
"We never had any tires issues the whole race," Busch said. "Overall the performance of the tires I felt like were fine. I had no issues with them. I think you just -- it's sort of like playing with fire. If you pour too much gas on it or let too much air out of it, the thing is going to go boom."
And here's the big takeaway for Busch: By winning Sunday, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota crew became the fifth team to all but lock in a Chase spot.
"It's exciting to win a race this early in the season, although Joe [Gibbs] thinks it's been forever," Busch said. "And to put a winner's circle [decal] on our roof is certainly good because it gives us a little bit of, I wouldn't say relaxation, but it certainly takes the pressure off of winning and making the Chase."