Is there anything worse than a rain delay in sport? It’s so disappointing when a soccer match is abandoned because the referee decides the pitch is too waterlogged. Or in tennis, there’s nothing like the sight of a grounds team rushing onto the court to cover it over and shield it from the deluge. Now, NASCAR is looking to put a stop to similar delays of its own with a new wet weather pack that could be used at some races on the calendar.
Sometimes, there’s no escaping a rain delay in motorsport. It happens in Formula 1 when cars have to follow the safety car until the course is deemed safe, and it happens in stock car racing too. But NASCAR is hoping to minimize the impact of a sudden downpour with a new pack created for short oval circuits.
In the past, racing action has always bee brought to a halt at NASCAR meets when the rain pours. This is because the slick tires used in NASCAR paired with the slick surface of a race track can be a recipe for disaster when a spot of drizzle is thrown into the mix.
Now, a new wet weather pack has been approved for use oval circuits to try and minimize rain delays at events.
According to Road & Track, the new wet weather pack could be brought in at events including Clash, Martinsville, New Hampshire, North Wilkesboro, Phoenix, and Richmond. Road & Track reports:
“The oval rain package will mirror the one currently used during NASCAR road course events. That means it will include hardware like a windshield wiper, flaps behind the wheels, Goodyear rain tires, and rain lighting affixed to the rear of the race cars.
All of the tracks that we might see the package make an appearance at are on the short end, with none of the tracks extending past a mile in length. This helps ensure that speeds stay manageable during any sort of adverse weather conditions on track.”
This sounds like a good start in minimizing rain delay at races, as things like wipers and lights can help improve visibility on a rain-soaked course. Lights that will be fitted to cars racing in the wet include a flashing rain light, as well as four brake lights.
Prior to the wet weather pack’s introduction, NASCAR had been limited to running in the rain at select tracks on the calendar. These included Circuit of the Americas and Watkins Glen, where drainage and the track surface make it safer.
But, it’s important to note that the updates won’t entirely stop rain delays from happening. Standing water on a track is still dangerous for drivers and officials will still be able to step in if they deem conditions too bad to race.
What the pack does mean, however, is that racing action will be able to get underway sooner once wet weather conditions start improving. Now, who knows a good rain dance so we can see these measures in action?