By admin | May 25, 2009
By Richard Allen
I have been to numerous races that have been delayed, interrupted or postponed due to rain. I have had to set my VCR(or DVR if you please) and try to stay as disconnected as possible while at work in order to avoid finding out who won a race being run on a Monday. To me, any of those scenarios is preferable to watching race cars slog around in the rain.
Formula 1 does it. The Rolex endurance cars do it. And, various other series have a plan in place to race in the rain. Well, good for them. I, however, hope I never go to or watch a race run in the rain.
NASCAR in particular is not suited for the wet. The cars are too heavy. The tires are too narrow. And the tracks, especially the ovals, are not designed for such.
I’ve heard some fans say that racing in the rain would show just who has the most skill at handling a race car. No it wouldn’t. It only would show who could plow through puddles without having the car hydroplane. There is no skill in that, only luck.
NASCAR has a rain plan in place for road course races. They have rain tires and the cars can be fitted with windshield wipers. Here’s hoping that plan never gets put into effect.
The Nationwide Series raced on a wet track in Montreal once and everyone seemed pleased that the race did not turn into a disaster. The phrase ‘did not turn into a disaster’ is not exactly a ringing endorsement. The novelty of it was okay for one Nationwide race but that was enough for me.
I know many people were disappointed that they did not get to see the Coca-Cola 600 run at its scheduled time on Sunday evening. However, waiting to watch the drivers do their jobs on a dry track is far preferable to me than having to watch them tip-toe around at half speed just trying to avoid having the car get away from them.
The television networks would probably prefer to have races run in the rain so they can stay on schedule. That is something that worries me because NASCAR has a history of playing up to the big money. In other words, if too many races get hampered by rain, then prepare to hear that the sanctioning body has asked Goodyear to look into creating a rain tire for ovals.
If Formula 1 and other types of racing want to run their events in the rain then so be it. As for me, I hope I never see a race in which a windshield wiper has to be used.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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