Hydro Pain: Despite New Tire, NASCAR Wisely Won't Run Sprint Cup Cars In Rain
It's no secret that any sporting event in the rain is not a fun experience. When it comes to NASCAR, it makes for a more difficult experience for everyone involved.
Sunday at Watkins Glen, the fans, crews and drivers were ready to start up 43 cars and do battle for 90 laps. Then, just as the command was set to be given, the drivers were instructed to get out of their cars. Rain was approaching the area, with lightning strikes off in the distance.
As the rain drops began to fall, I began thinking back to Montreal last season. Hearing officials make the call to race in the rain was baffling.
How would the cars react? Would there be mass chaos once the green flag fell? Would the fans be willing to stick around and watch something that hasn't been done before?
I, along with everyone in attendance and watching on ESPN, were in absolute shock when the race actually went off very well. Despite the race being stopped short of it's scheduled distance, history was made in Montreal.
Seeing how the Nationwide cars reacted to the wet conditions, questions of if the Sprint Cup cars would do the same starting coming around.
The fact is, the Cup cars are totally different than the Nationwide cars. The car is taller, wider, runs a wing instead of a spoiler, and has a higher center of gravity. The rain tires made for the Nationwide cars would not work what so ever.
This weekend, Goodyear brought a new rain tire for the Nationwide race if it was necessary. The tire was a newer and deeper cut, similar to the street version of the Goodyear Eagle. Right away, questions were put to top NASCAR officials of whether they would consider racing in the rain.
NASCAR President Mike Helton quickly answered stating that there are no plans to run a Sprint Cup road race on a wet track in the near future. This is not surprising because of the differences in the two cars.
That doesn't mean that Goodyear won't try. Officials said Sunday that if NASCAR decided to change their mind, they'd be willing to take on the challenge.
Unfortunately, the challenge ahead would not only involve the Cup cars. A new Nationwide car is set to be introduced next year. Goodyear not only must deal with creating a rain tire for Cup, but now must work on creating a rain tire to be run on another new car.
The idea of creating a new tire, much less one for use on a wet track, is hard enough for one series. Trying to do one for both could be insurmountable.
Personally, I don't want to see a Sprint Cup race run on a wet track. Sure, we saw a safe race in Montreal, but there was not much action. The drivers didn't know what to expect, so they in essence had to run a safe race because of the unknowns.
Even more unknowns come with the Cup cars. The wing alone makes it very hard to see out the back window, increasing the risk that the cars behind won't brake in time to avoid a collision.
The high center of gravity creates another risk because it makes the cornering so much more difficult. You add in a wet race track, and the cars would be racing on roller skates.
Putting rain tires on a Sprint Cup car is simply not a good idea, even if Goodyear is willing to take on the task. Fans and drivers are already critical of the new car, this would just add fuel to their fire.
Some drivers said that they would do it, but admitted that it would not be fun to do.
Hopefully Helton sticks by his statements and not put the Sprint Cup cars on the track with rain tires.
Ratings and attendance have already dropped from last year. All this would do is drop them even further.
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