AKRON-It is the racing capital of the world, Goodyear headquarters in Akron.
“On an average day we have 300 people in this facility that touch and feel the tires that go to NASCAR and NHRA every day,” said Martin Burgess Manufacturing Director at ICM.
The Manufacturing plant covers 845,000 square feet, it has 22 tire machines, 29 presses and it’s operational five days a week.
“We feel like we are part of the action, we are not just a tire supplier, we are an integral part of what happens every weekend at the race track,” said Greg Stucker Director of Goodyear Racing.
A racing tire begins very simply with a piece of fabric and some raw rubber. It eventually runs a gamut of machines and presses stretched over three stories. The manufacturing plant has three different shifts with 150 people working at a time.
“It’s a proud feeling going to the track and seeing them race or watching them on TV knowing you built that tire,” said Scott Williams, a tire builder from Canton. “Every splice that I make I just think about their safety and everything, I just want to do the best that I can.”
A racing tire can be made in a little over an hour, but Goodyear doesn’t put a time limit on tire making. Their tires are checked, double-checked, x-rayed, and then checked again for quality before they are approved for shipping and pre-mounting.
“I think the most interesting part we have in this facility, when I’m watching the race and I see that tire going around the track, it’s the pride we put into that tire, it’s the fact that hey I made that tire and I know that that tire is going to carry that driver safely across that finish line,” Burgess said.
Throughout the tire making process, the tires are stamped and marked with the names of the individuals who made that specific tire. The biggest seal of approval comes near the end of the production line when the tire is stamped with the infamous Goodyear Eagle logo.
Goodyear will manufacture 135,000 racing tires this season at $497 dollars a tire.