What is the one thing any auto racer, especially ones that race on circle tracks, hate the most?
That’s an easy answer…rain.
No matter whether a driver races on the asphalt or on dirt, or even just a fan spending their money on a ticket to the track, rain simply makes things miserable.
Rain before a race is scheduled to go makes a long afternoon seem even longer, because the green flag is now moved way back and then it’s a matter of waiting for the rain to stop, just to dry the track to go racing.
Rain during an event is rather interesting. In NASCAR, if a race goes one lap past halfway, it is declared an official event.
So, in a 200 lap event like Sunday at Pocono Raceway means that once lap 101 is complete, the race is official.
At lap 124, the skies opened up on the Pocono Mountains, and it began pouring at the track. NASCAR didn’t even wait an entire lap to bring the field to pit road and post the red flag. The rain that hit the track was the same heavy downpour that hit our area the last few days of the weekend.
However, NASCAR was not ready to declare the race official. There was a window to get the remainder of the race in, but with another major storm cell approaching, they had to work fast.
The biggest disadvantage at Pocono is at 2.5 miles in length, to dry the entire track plus pit road would take two hours.
Somehow they got it in, but at the same instance it meant that not as many fans would be willing to wait around to see the entire race to conclusion. I know this from experience.
In 2001, I went to Michigan for the summer race at the Michigan International Speedway. It rained overnight but the sun was out in the morning, and the track was good enough to race on. But at lap 95, the rain began falling, and four laps later the race was put under the red flag. My dad, myself and our two friends stayed under the grandstands for a while, but we heard that the storm cell was going to be a lengthy one. Considering the fact that my dad had work the next day, we all opted to head home. The red flag was put out on lap 99, which was one lap short of halfway.
We waited as long as possible, but just couldn’t stay to the end.
I experienced extremely heavy rain last year at Talladega, to the point where all track activity the day before the race was canceled. Rain at a race track is never a good thing.
I’ve only seen NASCAR race in the rain twice, and also qualify in the rain just once, all coming at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada, which is a road course. It’s unbelievable that they would do it, but sure enough out came the windshield wipers, the brake lights, and the grooved tires.
Seeing NASCAR race in the rain was historical, but I’m glad it’s something that’s not done on a regular basis. Racing in the rain is like opening someone else’s mail…not exactly a good idea.
RESULTS: 1-Keselowski 2-Kyle Busch 3-Kurt Busch 4-Johnson 5-Newman 6-Gordon 7-Edwards 8-Biffle 9-Earnhardt Jr. 10-Menard
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Stewart 14-Harvick 15-Hamlin 28-Kahne
CAUTIONS: 5 for 21 laps. Lap 14-16 (#18 spin-T3), 21-22 (#00, 6 accident-T3), 101-104 (Debris), 124-131 (Rain [Red Flag-Lap 125, 1 Hr, 46 Mins, 40 Secs]), 181-184 (#4, 42 accident-T1).
LEAD CHANGES: 23 among 10 drivers. Logano 1-14, Mears 15, Logano 16, Kurt Busch 17-24, Hamlin 25-38, Kurt Busch 39, Edwards 40-41, Cassill 42, Hamlin 43-64, Logano 65, Hamlin 66-81, Kyle Busch 82-87, Newman 88, Hamlin 89-101, Logano 102-128, Keselowski 129-131, Kurt Busch 132-151, Logano 152, Cassill 153, Kurt Busch 154-162, Kyle Busch 163-173, Biffle 174, Kyle Busch 175-184, Keselowski 185-200.
TIME OF RACE: 3 Hrs, 37 Mins, 35 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 137.878 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.791 Seconds
POINT STANDINGS (Top-10, Wild Cards): 1. Edwards, 720 points; 2. Johnson, -9; 3. Kyle Busch, -11; 4. Kurt Busch, -14; 5. Harvick, -20; 6. Kenseth, -26; 7. Gordon, -52; 8. Newman, -62; 9. Stewart, -78; 10. Earnhardt Jr, -79. WILD CARDS: Keselowski (18th, 2 Wins), Hamlin (11th, 1 win).