By admin | August 30, 2009
By Richard Allen
I’ve been to numerous races that have been rained out and have been disappointed each time. However, any of those times were preferable to what occurred over the last 15 laps of Sunday’s Nationwide race in Montreal.
Late in the race, rain set in at the Quebec track and NASCAR sent the cars to the pits to switch over to rain set ups. Tires, windshield wipers and defrosting agents were applied to the machines and drivers were sent back out to finish the race in wet conditions.
Qualifying had taken place the day before in the wet. And, last year this same race was run in the rain. The best thing to be said for each of those happenings was that neither turned out to be a disaster. So, with that solid record of success to their credit, NASCAR decided to give racing in the rain another go. Well, their ‘not turning into a disaster’ record is now over.
Watching big, heavy stock cars tip-toe around a wet road course is far from entertaining. Watching them stage a wreck and caution fest was a joke and made a mockery of the sport.
I know there will be more than a few people who will proclaim the day a success and will point to Carl Edwards’ last corner pass of Marcos Ambrose as the evidence of that. And, I will admit that the racing among the top-5 cars was entertaining. That is, what little actual racing there was among the top-5.
The racing, or should I say the wrecking, from 6th on back was predictable and an embarrassment. The record number of cautions and torn up race cars serve as evidence of that. Even commentator/car owner Rusty Wallace offered a degree of criticism, or at least amazement, at the events that were unfolding before him.
There are more than a few drivers in the Nationwide Series (and the Sprint Cup Series for that matter) who should barely be allowed to race on dry tracks, let alone wet ones. To expect those drivers to put a good show under such conditions was foolish.
With the race so close to the scheduled end, it should have been called at that point.
The only reason the race last year was not a disaster was that the rain came early on in the event and it was the first time for a race to take place in the wet, so everyone tip-toed all day long and stayed out of each other’s way. This year, with the rain coming in so late, that was not the case.
Last week, I wrote that I was disappointed in the Bristol track because the action had been taken out of it in the Sprint Cup race. The difference between that and this is racing on short tracks is meant to be done with a certain degree of aggression and grinding. And, the races at Bristol are meant to be run on a dry track under optimum conditions. Racing in the rain simply causes drivers to lose control for no other reason than the poor condition of the track. That isn’t racing at all, at least not with these type of cars.
The worst race in NASCAR history almost certainly has to have been the tire debacle race in Indianapolis last year. In my opinion, however, had Sunday’s race in Montreal had a few more laps of wrecking, I mean racing, in the rain it would have given the Indy race a run for its money.
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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