The rain tire test at Richmond featured new elements
One thing that kills a day at the races in the NASCAR world is something as simple as water. However, weeks ago, NASCAR dropped water at Martinsville Speedway, on purpose, with a water truck.
NASCAR is looking for a fix to the problem. They’re looking for a way to get the show in, despite the weather gods raining on the parade.
Earlier this week, NASCAR conducted another wet weather test at Richmond Raceway. Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Christopher Bell took part in the test.
The idea is for NASCAR to get the show racing sooner. If it stops raining, NASCAR is looking for a way to put the cars on track without waiting 2 hours for the track to dry.
Last weekend at COTA, NASCAR had a rough time in tough wet weather conditions. Multiple crashes spawned from drivers unable to see far enough up the track due to the spray from the wet weather tires.
After the COTA crashes, it sparked Kevin Harvick to say that NASCAR has, “no business racing in the rain.”
Just days later, officials implemented a possible fix. At Richmond Raceway, the cars were fitted with mudflaps. Multiple styles of the guards were installed to see if they could cut down on the spray from the wet tires.
Wet tires have grooves, unlike the traditional slick tires. Those groves essentially carve through the water and reach the pavement below it. By it’s design, it throws water in the air.
“The mud flaps kind of adjust the spray, but it doesn’t completely eliminate the spray,” Logano said after the test.
“So we need to try to figure that out, but I think the biggest thing we realized is when we put slick tires on it — the slicks were obviously very slick, the cars were un-driveable. But, there is no spray.”
“So that means it’s coming from the tread on the tires. So maybe there is a less aggressive tread pattern that allows us to have grip — we need that as well — but maybe can eliminate some of the spray.”
“Before we talk about what race we’re bringing it to, a playoff race versus regular races, we first have to figure out how to make it safe enough to be able to see where we’re going,” Logano said. “That’s the number one priority.
“Once you fix that, I’m fine with racing it wherever. If we feel confident that the tire is gonna stay in one piece and not come apart, and we feel confident we’re gonna be able to see and not gonna have some freak crash like we had last week, have at it.”
“The conditions we were testing in Richmond were not as bad as they were in Austin,” Elliott stated. “It’s hard to create that type of a wet track by watering it,” Chase Elliott told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“If we’re going to have a wet tire and Goodyear are going to put in the effort then we need to commit to saying, ‘Hey look, we’re going to race in the rain.’ Unless, it’s just an absolute downpour or just wait until it drys off.”
“The middle of the road deal where, it rains then it stops raining and we put 40 cars out there on wet tires. We’re going to dry the track off in a half hour. Then, the next thing you know, we have slicks on again.”
“I feel like we need to commit to racing in the rain or say we’re racing in the dry.” He added, “I feel like we need to pick one and stick with it.”
“I feel like our cars are capable of racing in the rain. If we help the visibility, some way, some how. Or let it police itself. The tire that Goodyear has for wet weather conditions really suits more rain than less. It’s a very abrasive wet weather tire. So, it likes water.”
“We proved to NASCAR at Martinsville that technically it will work, but now you’ve got the operational side, you’ve got the logistic side,” Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, told NBC Sports last weekend of a wet tire on an oval.
He added, “How many sets are you going to want us to bring? In case it rains and then it dries, are we going to go back to them again? We’ve got to work through all that.”