Human beings are prone to being hypocritical. We change are minds constantly with the flow of popular opinion or being prisoners of the moment, and this is evident in sports. This past week a large majority of NASCAR fans became hypocrites with their major backtrack on racing in the rain.
For years, this sport has been plagued by the curse of mother nature and dealing with weather delays. One of the most annoying things as a fan is to sit down to watch the race only to be told it will be delayed due to weather and forced to watch a race previously recorded.
Anytime you listen to radio call ins or NASCAR content creators, all they talk about is they wish there was a way to race in the rain. We now have that possibility, and while intermediate and superspeedways will always have this issue, road courses and short tracks have hope. NASCAR has developed a way to race in the rain on almost half of the schedule.
This past week’s race at COTA was rough, there was some great racing and examples of amazing driving in the rain and it was entertaining to watch. There were the obvious issues of visibility that drivers dealt with through the midway point of the race. This led to many scary wrecks that were hard to avoid in the conditions for the drivers.
The elephant in the room is the fact that NASCAR made a mistake by allowing these drivers to race in these downpours that lead to the rooster tails. Officials should have red flagged the events for fifteen minutes to be able to dry the track off like they eventually did. Unfortunately, this call was made too late and too many cars were damaged.
NASCAR said after the race that they should’ve acted sooner, so they are aware of their mistake. Fans have been vocal in their displeasure of the race and in some polls done on Twitter, a lot of support is shown for NOT attempting to race in the rain again.
I have to call this out and if you’re someone that shares this opinion, I implore you to look at it from this point of view. This is the first year that NASCAR has attempted to genuinely race an entire race in the rain. There are going to be mistakes made and lessons learned. Just like with the Bristol Dirt race, there is the potential for something great, but it will take trial and error.
If you take the wrecks away from Sunday’s race and still did not enjoy the racing you saw, then fair enough; I don’t agree with you, but I won’t argue. However, if you are beating the table against racing in the rain because of the avoidable aspects of it like the rooster tails and low visibility, then you’re not being fair. Keep that same energy the next time we have a rainout.
I truly hope that NASCAR continues to develop this rain tire technology and continues to attempt to hold road course races in wet conditions. Not only that, but I want to see it used at short tracks as well. While I do not prefer wet racing over dry, I do prefer wet racing over postponed or shortened racing.