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“Sprinklers at Every Race Track”: NASCAR’s First Ever Damp Oval Race Stirs Contrasting Opinions on Its Success

Gowtham Ramalingam

“Sprinklers at Every Race Track”: NASCAR’s First Ever Damp Oval Race Stirs Contrasting Opinions on Its Success

History was made on Sunday when NASCAR decided that it would race all 301 laps at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway instead of ending the race prematurely in the face of a passing thunderstorm. The biggest reason that anchored this decision was the wet weather tire that Goodyear developed and had in the ready. What followed was 82 laps of mesmerizing action that left most spellbound.

Wet weather tires are not a very famed option on oval tracks. This is why when Jim France envisioned an oval-track race with wets, he did not get a lot of approval from drivers, crew chiefs, or even his engineers. All the skepticism was quashed within a few laps after the race resumed in damp conditions. Interestingly, many drivers ended up loving the experience.

Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher, and others all agreed that the race was a success considering that they were able to complete it in its intended length. Though there did exist complaints in the lines of low visibility and tire choice limitations, each driver experimented with what was working for them by fanning out as wide as six at one point. This left them largely pleased.

The SVP of Competition, Elton Sawyer, said, I mean if you go back and look at the reason we came up with this, and we started working through it with our teams and the folks that the R&D Center, it was to do exactly what we did yesterday with the Xfinity race and what we did today with the Cup race. So yes, very successful.” With the promotion and drivers clear with their stance, where do the fans stand?

Fans react to the success of the wet weather tires at New Hampshire

Reacting to a question posted on the “NASCAR on NBC” X handle, fans voiced out their thoughts on the race. RFK Racing was one of the first responders with the team’s social media arm quipping, “Love it!” Pleased with what he’d seen, another fan called for NASCAR to add sprinklers to every other track and replicate the damp conditions.

However, it was not all love from the audience. One fan took note of NASCAR forcing teams to run on a certain type of tire and said, “Very exciting but NASCAR is looking extremely amateur by not letting teams decide for themselves what tires to put on.” Another followed it up, “Let ’em use slicks if they want ’em.  Top line is dry.  But a good call to finish the race so, kudos for that NASCAR!”

As far as the tire choices go, Sawyer did reiterate that they would ultimately look to leave the choice to the teams themselves. But for now, safety is the main priority for NASCAR and that means holding the leash for as long as they feel comfortable.

Post Edited By:Srijan Mandal

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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