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« Changing start times because of weather for NASCAR races not feasible or a good idea | Main | What a shame more fans could not see Atlanta race »

There are a number of potential issues to consider going into Tuesday’s Atlanta race

By admin | September 6, 2011

By Richard Allen

There are perhaps as many unknowns going into Tuesday’s rescheduled affair at the Atlanta Motor Speedway as there have been in quite some time for a Sprint Cup race. This weekend’s weather delays will create some extra headaches for teams as they prepare their cars for the event.

For one thing, the preparation itself is something that has to be taken into consideration. With a proposed start time of 11:00am, teams will be getting their cars ready at an earlier time than normal. The average day race starts at least two hours later than this so there is always the human element of being outside the normal schedule to consider. There could be a bolt not tightened or a piece not applied as it should be just because of the fact that the usual routine is not in place.

Also, car setups could be a significant issue at the start of this race. This 500 miler was supposed to be a night event. Now, it will be run in the day time. Even though the track will likely still be cool due to the early start time and cloudy conditions, there will still be setup differences from night and day to consider.

One of those setup issues will almost certainly be the lack of rubber on the track. With the deluge of rain that fell in the area, all the tire residue from the Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series races as well as practice sessions has been washed away. This will cause cars to handle differently than expected.

And along with the tire theme will be the possibility of excessive wear. Goodyear and the teams depend on rubber being on the track to minimize tire fall off. For the first several laps that rubber will not be on the racing surface. And more, this track, with its aged asphalt, has always been abrasive on tires. Today, could see that magnified in the early stages of the event.

And finally, these cars have not been run for three days. While they are finely tuned instruments, they can still be temperamental machines so there is always the potential of an unforeseen problem from the lack of use.

With all the factors to consider, do not be surprised to hear that there may be a ‘competition caution’ within the first 20-30 laps of today’s race.

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