QOTD: How Can Racing Deal With the Rain?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

NASCAR has had a rain problem recently.

As frustrating as it has been to see the Cup Series deal with rain delays for four straight weeks, including a rain-shortened race in Chicago (and a rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 in May), there may just be very little that NASCAR can do about it. It could just be bad luck.

That said, some folks on social media complained that races, especially the Chicago race, have been starting too late in the afternoon. This means that if a track doesn't have lights, a rain-delayed race can bump up against darkness. I suppose, too, though I am no meteorologist, that later starts in the summer mean more time for humidity to build and cause rain.

NASCAR, to its credit, is working on learning on how to race in the rain with wet-weather tires, windshield wipers, and other tech. But the series still has to stop on when there's standing water on the track -- and the series still can't run in the rain on most oval tracks due to the speeds involved.

So what can NASCAR do to avoid the rains? Start races earlier, TV ratings be damned? I'd point out that while it can be annoying for a sport to bend to the will of TV, ratings also help a sport make money and grow.

Maybe more lights at tracks, and in the case of Chicago, temporary lighting? The city of Chicago does have street lights on the roads that made up the street course, but they're likely not bright enough to help racers see at speeds of 100+ mph.

Or is this one of those things where not much can be done, and fans and drivers just have to deal with contingency plans such as delays or postponements should the weather not cooperate?

Sound off below.

[Image: NASCAR]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 9 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy 7 days ago
    Proper grading at the foundation goes a long way in dealing with the rain. Then take a look at your building envelope.
  • Cprescott Cprescott 6 days ago
    NASCAR has improved how it has handled rain - on a road course it is different from an oval and even there the condition of the pavement and weeping changes things. Road courses made from city streets are a totally different animal. One way to address tracks/courses without lights is to schedule the races for earlier in the day rather than moving up the time on a day of adjustment - remember, there are customers - viewers on the course and network obligations. Start the races at 11am on tracks without lights essentially solves everything. Rain tires and wipers for all tracks a mile or under as needed.
  • Mike Beranek No, but I'm for a world where everyone, everywhere buys cars (and everything else) that are sourced and assembled regionally. Shipping big heavy things all over the planet is not a solution.
  • Jeffrey No not for me at this time
  • El scotto Hmm, my VPN and security options have 12-month subscriptions. Car dealers are not accountable to anyone except the owner. Of course, the dealer principles are running around going "state of the art security!", "We need dedicated IT people!" For the next 12 months. The hackers can wait.
  • El scotto Chip it, NOS it, Wrap it, go buy hipster jeans.
  • El scotto Bah to the lot of you! Now 8500$ is way too much; 5000$ would be much more reasonable. You see, every once in a while GM does something right. The two Saturns I owned were slow, I mean bog slow, poorly maintained VW bug slow. Then some GM engineers ran some sort of tippy-top secret project and put a supercharger on a 4-cylinder. Will this redline beat a Porsche? Please. Would this be worth thrashing on your daily commute? Of course. Imagine racing the GTI guys for lattes or IPAs. Those kind roll that way.