History, as you very well know, was made this past weekend in Montreal at The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve when NASCAR raced in the rain for the first time in a points sanctioned event. Ron Fellows, a native Canadian, ended up winning the race after NASCAR called it—due to rain, of course. They ran 48 of the scheduled 74 laps.
The race came nearly a week after a pathetic Brickyard 400 weekend that saw the 43 best drivers in the world run a series of ten-lap heats to see Jimmie Johnson go to victory lane for the second time in his career.
Goodyear brought out seven-year-old rain tires for the Nationwide race in Montreal. Doesn't that strike anyone else as odd? How can a seven-year-old tire work when Goodyear has had more than one incident this year with tires in the Cup Series?
NASCAR does share part of the blame, but if they ever want to race in the rain in the Cup Series, I have a few suggestions for them so we don't see anything as disastrous as we did two weeks ago:
1. Improve the Tires: Who didn't see this coming? Goodyear only tested three cars to prepare a tire with a new car at Indianapolis. Yes, the track has had issues with tires in the past, but that's no excuse for the tire company's lack of intelligence when it came to preparing a good race tire. Test more drivers and spend more money in R&D so you won't have to spend it on damage control.
2. Change the COT: Obviously NASCAR shares a lot of the blame for the incident in Indy. The COT is crap as is, with the clean air advantage for the lead car overwhelming. If NASCAR wants to avoid future problems, not only with tires but with two and a half hour follow the leader races, they need to fork over money to the teams to make changes.
There's no reason the teams should have to throw even more money at a car that the sanctioning body has made un-raceable. Darby, give each team 25 tests a year to do with as they please, since you and everyone else at NASCAR won't do anything else about the COT problems.
3. Listen to the Drivers: When you have Ron Fellows, Joey Logano, Jacques Villeneuve, and others complaining that the rain in Montreal is so bad they can't drive, and then two of the three drivers named above wreck because of it, it left me to wonder why NASCAR didn't listen to the drivers and stop the race.
The guys back at the shop are the ones that pay the ultimate price, having to work on those cars as well as the car they'll be taking to Watkins Glen that week, and NASCAR should be ashamed not to take that into consideration.
And what would they have done if someone had gotten hurt? That's the absolute last thing NASCAR wants to see, but they don't seem to be doing anything about it.
If they do decide to ever race in Cup and don't listen to drivers like Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch when they radio in telling the team they can't see, they're going to see more of an uproar than they did at Indianapolis—especially if someone gets hurt, or worse.
Those are my suggestions for NASCAR, and I'm sure there's more they could do. Will they ever race during the rain in Cup? We'll just have to wait and see.