The contact pressure distribution and the rolling resistance of a running radial tire under load are fundamental properties of the tire construction, important to the steering performance of automobiles, as is well known. Many theoretical and experimental studies have been previously published on these tire properties. However, the relationships between tire performances in service and tire structural properties have not been clarified sufficiently due to analytical and experimental difficulties. In this paper, establishing a spring support ring model made of a composite belt ring and a Voigt type viscoelastic spring system of the sidewall and the tread rubber, we analyze the one‐dimensional contact pressure distribution of a running tire at speeds of up to 60 km/h. The predicted distribution of the contact pressure under appropriate values of damping coefficients of rubber is shown to be in good agreement with experimental results. It is confirmed by this study that increasing velocity causes the pressure to rise at the leading edge of the contact patch, accompanied by the lowered pressure at the trailing edge, and further a slight movement of the contact area in the forward direction.