As the NASCAR Cup Series takes over the Circuit of The Americas this weekend, track officials may be forced to use rain protocols due to inclement weather.
With the big race quickly approaching on Sunday, there’s a high chance of rainfall throughout the weekend in Austin, Texas. As if the technical road course isn’t tough enough, the rain could pose some extra challenges. Not only is it the inaugural NASCAR race on the road course, but now the drivers will likely have to face weather issues as well at a new track.
“Some of it’s going to depend on the elements,” said Dave Rogers, crew chief for Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota in the Xfinity Series, according to NASCAR.com. “If it’s raining and it looks like it’s going to rain during the race, then that’s just as unique as a dirt race at Bristol.”
As the Circuit of The Americas makes its debut in the NASCAR Cup Series, wet-weather procedures are a real possibility. Here’s a breakdown of wet-weather race regulations and procedures, and more on drivers’ rain-tire allotments.
NASCAR Rain Rules and Procedures
According to the NASCAR Rule Book, if poor weather conditions arise, each series’ race director can announce a “wet” or “damp” start. A wet start declaration means that moisture covers all racing surfaces. A damp start means only some areas on the track have moisture. In addition, race directors can deem tracks not race-ready in heavy downpours, which cause impaired visibility and puddles on the course. According to NASCAR.com, here are the procedures for each condition.
Wet weather starts:
– All cars must utilize rain tires, activate their rear flashing light, and have functioning windshield wipers.
– Normal starting procedures remain the same.
Damp weather starts:
– All cars have the option to install rain tires at the crew chief’s discretion. The rear flashing light must be activated, and windshield wipers may be installed.
– Any car making a pit stop to install rain tires on subsequent pace laps will forfeit their starting spot.
Crew chiefs can decide whether or not their team will change tires following the green flag. They have the option to use treaded rain tires or dry-weather slicks.
Goodyear Rain Tires Allotment
When weather conditions warrant it, Goodyear‘s wet-weather radials are available to all race teams. NASCAR Cup Series teams are allowed three sets of rain tires for practice and qualifying rounds. Also, each team is allowed up to five sets of rain tires for the official race.
As for the Xfinity Series teams, their allotments are slightly different. Their teams are allowed five sets of wet-weather tires over the weekend and are capped at a maximum of four sets for the race. The Camping World Trucks teams will get four sets of rain tires available for the event and a maximum of three sets for the race.
Normal race tires have yellow lettering on the sidewalls. However, alternate white “Goodyear Eagle” lettering differentiates wet-weather tires from their normal counterpart.