Monday, August 10, 2009

No to Rain Tires... Yes to Earlier Start Times

The idea of using rain tires for the Sprint Cup Series at a road course is not only absurd, it's just plain dumb.

I want to tell a little story, and then I'll tell you my answer to those who insist we could have gotten that race in yesterday by using rain tires.

About 14 years ago, NASCAR decided to go race in Japan. They were gonna go to a road course in Suzuka, Japan and they needed to insure that the race could be run on the scheduled date and time and couldn't stay in the country any longer than necessary. So Goodyear built NASCAR a rain tire. I think they practiced in the rain during that first weekend in Japan. After NASCAR stopped going to Japan, the need to absolutely get a race in on the scheduled date on a road course went away.

Flash forward to 2005 when the NASCAR Nationwide Series ups and goes to Mexico. They are in a different country with deadlines to race and get back across the border. The teams had to race when scheduled and couldn't wait another day. So Goodyear pulled back out the rain tires and ever since the crazies in NASCAR land have said we can race in the rain on a road course.

The Nationwide Series did it in Canada last year, and while it may have been fun for the drivers (at times mind you), the fans were forced to sit in the rain and forced to watch a bad race.

The Sprint Cup Series is the biggest form of motorsports in the country. To put on a race in the rain that is gonna produce few passes and multiple accidents is just plain wrong. There's no reason for that nonsense.

I will tell you a solution to prevent what happened yesterday from happening again.

You ready?

Start the race earlier. Earlier start times could have gotten in atleast half of the race yesterday. If not half, then a good portion of it and we wouldn't have to race the full distance today. A 1:00 start would have gotten in the entire Daytona 500 back in February. NASCAR has moved the start times back to around 2:00 (Daytona started at 4:15 EST) for most tracks because they want to pick up on the west coast crowd. I've done some reading on the internet and I think most west-coast folks don't like the start times we've got now. They seem to prefer the earlier start times from a decade ago so they don't spend the entire middle portion of their day watching the race.

I think the ratings will pick back up from starting at 1:00 EST or earlier. I also think the ratings would pick back up by fixing the car and getting the bells and whistles out of the way at ESPN and FOX. Watch how TNT and SPEED broadcast NASCAR races. That's the way to go.

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