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Woody: Let It Rain And Let Them Race

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, August 10 2009
Juan Pablo Montoya walks in the rain with his children Sebastian and Paulina.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Juan Pablo Montoya walks in the rain with his children Sebastian and Paulina. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

And now for those most famous words in auto racing:

“Gentlemen, start your umbrellas!”

After back-to-back rainouts at Pocono and Watkins Glen, word is that NASCAR has begun work at its R&D facility on a new AOT (Ark of Tomorrow.)

It’s been so rainy that the AFLAC duck caught a cold.

For two weeks in a row the driver of the track blow-drier won the Lap Leader Award.

I don’t understand why they don’t just go ahead and race in the rain. All that would happen would be that the drivers would ease around the track in single file, being careful not to crowd each other and never attempting to make a pass.

In other words, they’d race the same way they do on a dry track.

We’re told that NASCAR has developed a special rain tire for use on road courses, but for some reason is hesitant to use it. Guess they don’t want to get it wet.

The trouble with a rainout – aside from being subjected to hours of cranium-numbing TV filler interviews – is that a lot of the fans can’t stay over for the rescheduled event. Despite the economy some of them still have (gasp!) jobs.

Also the TV ratings for a rescheduled race tend to sag like an aging Super Model, and in a year of already-droopy ratings that’s not good. Recent Nielson ratings showed that even Nielson chose to go fishing on Monday.

If NASCAR is afraid to race on a wet track, perhaps it should follow the example of the cave men who finally got fed up with sitting in the rain and invented something called a “roof.”

We’re told that putting a roof over a racetrack is not practical, the job would result in a massive boondoggle, and the cost overruns would be astronomical. Of course we all know what that would mean – a federal bailout.

Actually I understand there could be some unpleasant side effects to racing under a roof or dome – carbon monoxide would be trapped and cause fans to drop like flies. But that’s not the scary part: the trapped gases could create a “greenhouse effect” that would melt the ice in the fans’ coolers and allow the beer to get warm.

And so the soggy saga continues with no solution in sight.

Frankly there’s not much good that can be said for rain, aside from the fact that it allows the planet to sustain life as we know it.

But is it really worth it, compared to having a race postponed?

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, August 10 2009
One Comment

One Comment »

  • SB says:

    If nothing else, Nascar could use the rain tires to start a race without the track being totally dry, then change to slicks, the way most road racing series do. as long as it isn’t a complete downpour that floods the track and makes visibility an issue, Nascar should use the rain tires.