Hey NASCAR: You can't race in the rain

·3 min read

Jul. 20—NASCAR officials blundered not once but twice this past weekend during the Cup race at New Hampshire.

The first blunder was to start the race with a light drizzle falling on a portion of the one-mile oval.

Their own officials and the drivers were telling the race director that there was precipitation falling in turns one and two.

Despite the warnings the race started with the predictable result that leader Kyle Busch crashed in turn one along with Martin Truex Jr. and several drivers fortunately were able to avoid contact for their cars.

Race officials can make all kind of excuses for deciding to start the race and that a sudden downpour caught them by surprise.

That's hard to believe when just about everyone with a cellphone has access to the latest radar showing when storms are approaching a particular area.

It was more than a light drizzle that might not have shown up on radar.

I have been attending races for many decades and when there is rain falling on a track, normally the caution flag is displayed to determine the extent of the precipitation and then eventually the red flag brings a halt to the action.

The Cup cars on Sunday were not using treaded rain tires, they were riding on racing slicks. These tires absolutely hate moisture of any kind.

The race was red-flagged for three hours because of rain.

Busch showed his displeasure by several times intentionally bumping the rear bumper of the pace car, an action that will almost certainly result in some penalty from officials.

The second blunder was calling a halt to the race eight laps from the stated distance because of darkness.

It seems that another eight laps could have been completed in what would have been less than 10 minutes, unless of course there were green-white-checker finishes.

The declaring of the race made Aric Almirola the 13th different race winner in 2021 and locks him into the Chase for the Championship.

Currently in the field of 16 based on points are Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Tyler Reddick. Reddick holds a slim 5-point lead over Austin Dillon.

Aside from Hamlin and Harvick any other full-time competitor hoping for a shot at the championship will need a victory to qualify for the Chase.

There are four races remaining before the Chase starts with two of them on road courses, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 15.

In other racing news: This Thursday the USAC Silver Crown Series will be at Winchester Speedway for a 100-lap event on the high banked half-mile oval.

Twenty teams are entered including Travis Welpott, Aaron Pierce and former Little 500 winners Eric Gordon, Kody Swanson, Bobby Santos III and Shane Cottle.

Indiana Sprint Week kicks off Friday for the USAC National Sprint Car series at Gas City Speedway and on Saturday at Kokomo Speedway.

It runs through Aug. 31. The Indiana Sprint Week champion was Chase Stockton last year with C.J. Leary and Chris Windom winning the titles in 2019 and 2018.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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