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Can Rain Tires Save NASCAR? Ensuring the Show Goes On, Rain or Shine

NASCAR's recent use of rain tires can ensure fans see an entire race. But there's still work to be done.

Can Rain Tires Save NASCAR? Ensuring the Show Goes On, Rain or Shine

Introduction to a Weather-Proof NASCAR

If there’s one thing we know about here at The Money Lap, it’s the weather.

Gone are the days when a little rain meant no NASCAR. The introduction of wet weather tires marks an incredible shift in ensuring races are completed, providing fans the full experience they anticipate, regardless of the weather. This transition, as discussed on "The Money Lap" by hosts Parker Kligerman and Landon Cassill, offers a fascinating glimpse into NASCAR's potential future, where rain delays could be a thing of the past.

The Promise of Continuity

Rain tires promise a new era where fans can be confident that buying a ticket most likely means seeing a full race, come rain or shine.

“We all waited around for two hours and 10 minutes with impending worse weather. In any other time in my past history of NASCAR, this would have been called. That would have been it. All the people that left the grandstands and went home would have missed nothing. But then something happened. The skies cleared. The rain stopped. And next thing I knew, all the cup teams were out on pit road, bolting on wet weather tires”, Kligerman excitedly explains.

“The drivers got in and they finished the last 80 laps of that race into within minutes of darkness. Probably one of the crazier things I've ever seen. Ushering in an entirely new era for NASCAR and the NASCAR Cup Series in that you cannot just predict that even at the ovals these races are over because there's some inclement weather.”

Technical Triumphs and Trials

The integration of rain tires is not without its challenges. We are a long way off from seeing NASCAR race in a downpour. As races continue in ‘wet conditions’, the issues of spray and standing water come to the forefront.

Cassill points out, "It really comes down to how much spray is being generated by the race car so that if the drivers can see or not." NASCAR is tasked with developing strategies and technologies to reduce spray and handle standing water effectively, ensuring that the races are not only complete but also competitive and safe.

“The purpose of a wet weather tire is to get rid of the water. So you're kind of like - you're kind of in a box.” NASCAR and Goodyear have already come up with a tire that is effective at expelling water. However, now comes the problem of water being sprayed affecting driver visibility.

Strategic Shifts in Racing

The use of wet weather tires could introduce a new strategic dimension to NASCAR races. Decisions about when to switch tires and how to adjust racing strategies in response to changing track conditions become pivotal. This change could potentially lead to more dynamic races, as teams and drivers adapt to the evolving conditions.

Cassill is eager to see more rain open up race strategies, “Hopefully NASCAR gets to a point with these wet weather oval tires that they're comfortable with what the on-track product looks like and they can start to loosen the reins and let the race play out naturally. Because that would be, that will make this race, it will take this to the next level.”

In NASCAR’s recent rain-hampered race at New Hampshire, NASCAR officials controlled when teams could race on wet weather tires or slicks. However, post-race comments indicated that it could be up to teams in the future.

Fan Engagement and Reactions

The response from NASCAR fans has been overwhelmingly positive, with many appreciating the efforts to reduce race cancellations and delays. The ability to ensure that races proceed as scheduled enhances the certainty of attending a live event. In addition, fans and drivers alike have enjoyed the unpredictability and excitement that comes with racing in the rain.

What do you think?

Could racing in the rain be a good thing for NASCAR? Are you more likely to go to a race since the addition of wet weather tires? Drop your comments below and join the discussion!

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