NASCAR Praised for Smooth Introduction of Rain Tires at Richmond

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NASCAR lauded for ‘seamless’ debut of rain tires at Richmond

NASCAR made a significant decision to introduce wet weather tires at certain oval tracks ahead of the 2023 season. However, until recently, these tires hadn’t been used in a Cup Series points-paying race, with their only prior appearances being in a Truck race and the non-points All-Star Race, both held at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

This changed when rain hit Richmond Speedway on a Sunday afternoon. Despite the weather, the rain eased up enough to allow NASCAR to prepare the track, resulting in a damp surface with minimal water spray. Roughly 20 minutes after the scheduled start time, NASCAR initiated the race with teams equipped with wet weather tires. The first 30 laps proceeded smoothly without any notable incidents.

Surprisingly, the racing on these specialized tires, designed for enhanced grip with their tread, proved to be more engaging than much of the subsequent action on standard slick tires.

As the track dried up after 30 laps, NASCAR instructed teams to make noncompetitive pit stops to switch back to slick tires. While this decision was met with criticism from some fans, NASCAR deemed it necessary due to the wet conditions persisting on pit road.

NASCAR Praised for Smooth Introduction of Rain Tires at Richmond
NASCAR Praised for Smooth Introduction of Rain Tires at Richmond (Credits: News Online)

Race winner Denny Hamlin described the experience as groundbreaking, admitting to feeling some nervousness at the start but ultimately praising NASCAR’s execution of the plan. His crew chief, Chris Gabehart, echoed this sentiment, acknowledging the seamless execution of NASCAR’s strategy despite the initial apprehension.

Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, attributed the successful implementation of the wet weather package to the vision of NASCAR CEO Jim France. He emphasized France’s push for developing these tires, which ultimately prevented potential delays in track drying, thus ensuring a timely start to the race.

Looking ahead, Sawyer emphasized NASCAR’s commitment to refining the use of wet weather tires, with the aim of empowering teams and strategies during races. He highlighted the importance of gaining firsthand race experience to inform future improvements, expressing confidence in the eventual independence of teams in tire-related decision-making during races.


By Park-Shin Jung

I am Park-Shin Jung. I am a professional content writer for cars.

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