Oh Mother Nature, you really do not like racing this year. I cannot remember a year where so many different places were effected by rain at some point on a race weekend. It makes for a difficult time for everyone because there’s no way to tell when a race will start, or IF it will start, nor will we know if a race is to go the full distance or if teams are shooting to make halfway and whatever happens after is just added opportunities.
It’s so hard to experience a race when rain is in the forecast. I’ve gone through two experiences like that, and neither time was fun.
Whether a fan, crewman, driver, or broadcaster, rain is bad for everyone. The difficult part as a media member is that this sport is driven by action, news from the teams, and on-track incidents. During a rain delay, the action is not there. It dwindles down to media members trying to find something to do in order to pass the time. Some will write other pieces, or listen to music. When I was in Richmond a few years ago, I spent the time with the rain falling to catch up on some artwork. That and also get a lot of birthday wishes, but I digress from that.
It’s challenging because eventually, boredom sets in. Media members can only talk about so much, or find something different to watch on the televisions that are set up in the media center.
For fans it’s a little different because those that have a “Hot Pass” can still wander the garage and maybe luck out with getting some autographs and pics of drivers or team members. They can even risk going through the souvenir area and getting a few collectables. But then, it’s back to taking cover, and staying dry.
Eventually one of two things happens. Either A – the track drying is successful and the race gets going, or B -NASCAR decides to postpone the event, or as what happened at Texas on Sunday, end the race past halfway but short of the advertised distance.
Rain just makes a race weekend hard. NASCAR especially because they simply cannot race in the rain, unless it is on a road course.
That’s the main reason this column is a day late this week. Texas got delayed from it’s advertised start of 3 p.m. ET to a primetime start of just past 7:30 p.m. ET, and even then it was a start of when both the green flag and the yellow flag were displayed due to the fact that the track still wasn’t completely dry and NASCAR was having the race cars dry it using their exhaust.
Texas was 334 laps of racing to equal 500 miles. The race concluded when rain came back, and ended at lap 293.
For fans, and teams alike, seeing the race end was a relief. But seriously, Mother Nature, we have two remaining weeks in the season. One is in Arizona, and the other is in Miami. Is there any way you can give us two great weekends of weather to close out the year, please?
RESULTS: 1-Edwards 2-Logano 3-Truex Jr. 4-Elliott 5-Kyle Busch 6-Harvick 7-Kenseth 8-Kahne 9-Hamlin 10-Newman
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Johnson 14-Keselowski 20-Kurt Busch 31-Stewart
CAUTIONS: 8 for 37 laps. Lap 1-6 (Green-Yellow Start); 30-33 (Competition); 110-115 (#44 Spin-T4); 118-120 (Debris-BS); 145-148 (#27 Spin-T4); 257-260 (#3, 23 Accident-T3); 264-270 (#3, 4, 13, 44 Accident]); 291-293 (Weather).
LEAD CHANGES: 12 among 8 drivers. Dillon 1-5, Logano 6-30, Ragan 31, Logano 32-74, Dillon 75, Hamlin 76, Ky. Busch 77-78, Logano 79-188, Truex Jr 189- 222, Elliott 223-224, Truex Jr 225-256, Elliott 257, Edwards 258-293.
TIME OF RACE: 3 Hrs, 16 Mins.
AVERAGE SPEED: 134.541 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: Under Caution
CHASE GRID: 1. Johnson, 4074 (Points)*; 2. Logano, 4074; 3. Kyle Busch, 4074; 4. Kenseth, -1; 5. Hamlin, -2; 6. Harvick, -18; 7. Edwards, -25*; 8. Kurt Busch, -34; 9. Truex Jr, -1809; 10. Keselowski, -1840; 11. Elliott, -1851; 12. Larson, -1865; 13. Dillon, -1883; 14. Stewart, -1908; 15. McMurray, -1909; 16. Buescher, -1931.
*Locked into Championship Round