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No rain tires on tap for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Posted by Digory Kirke on August 10, 2009

Goodyear officials have a rain tire that can be used on road courses in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Goodyear officials have a rain tire that can be used on road courses in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Jeff Gordon remembers the NASCAR Sprint Cup practice on rain tires in 2000 at Watkins Glen.

“I went down into Turn 1 and my windshield wiper went off into the kitty litter down there,” Gordon said Friday.

With that memory, Jeff Gordon wasn’t begging NASCAR to put rain tires on Sprint Cup cars in order to get the Sunday road-course race run at Watkins Glen International. NASCAR postponed the Cup race to Monday, the second consecutive week the Cup event was postponed because of rain.

NASCAR had rain tires available for the Nationwide race Saturday at Watkins Glen – it ran part of the road-course race at Montreal last season in the rain – but has opted not to use them at the Sprint Cup level.

The race at Montreal eventually had to be stopped because of visibility.

“For the level of competition that we have in the Sprint Cup Series and as the stakes continue to rise from a competition standpoint, a sponsorship standpoint, a championship standpoint, we’d be best served to run the Sprint Cup Series on dry race tracks,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Sunday after the rainout was announced.

“We feel like that would be better for competition, that would better for the level of racing that the fans are accustomed to seeing.”

During the Nationwide race a day prior to the Cup race, teams had one set of rain tires mounted because of the threat of rain.

“I think that in bad weather NASA sends up smaller space craft instead of the big space craft and it is pretty similar,” driver Ryan Newman said. “You don’t want to risk a lot. I don’t think it would be an ideal situation for all the fans. … I have never raced in the rain. It would be a disadvantage to me.

“I think it is still racing. As far as the fans, I don’t think it would be as good of a race in the rain as it would be if it is dry. That I think is the hesitation more so for Sunday than it is on Saturday.”

Gordon said he watched the race in Montreal and figured if a driver such as Carl Edwards had to clean off his windshield with a hand-held wiper he kept inside his car, that racing in the rain was definitely less than ideal.

“We have enough challenges trying to stay on the track when it’s dry and I can’t imagine what it would be like in a Cup race if it was wet,” Gordon said. “I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching it rain up there in Montreal … That was highly entertaining, but I was very glad that I wasn’t inside the car.

“One of the biggest reasons, I think it would be fun to actually drive the cars in the rain if you get a consistent rain and you can feel the grip level, but as you saw, the windshield wipers don’t work, the de-fog doesn’t work.”

Another issue why the Nationwide Series uses rain tires is because with a rain date Monday at Watkins Glen was not cost-effective for the teams.

“There’s a little more flexibility to rescheduling a Sprint Cup Series race as opposed to a Nationwide race,” Tharp said.

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NASCAR watching Robby Gordon after wreck

Posted by Digory Kirke on August 10, 2009

Robby Gordon did his best to head NASCAR off at the pass. After dumping Joey Logano in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday at Watkins Glen International, Gordon met with NASCAR at the trailer prior to the drivers meeting on Sunday to explain his side of the story.

Gordon, who salvaged a 14th-place finish after the incident Saturday, said he hoped “in the future we will both race each other cleaner.” Gordon added that he didn’t expect any further repercussions from NASCAR. However, Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said that any final outcome would depend on Gordon’s behavior in Monday’s rain-delayed Cup race.

“This whole turn of events started with Joey running into the back of my (car) in Turn 10,” Gordon said in a press release. “He then knocked me sideways in Turn 11. To show him my displeasure, I ran him down towards the inside wall on the front straight. I tried to do a crossover move in Turn 1 to get back by him; however, I misjudged a little, resulting in both of us getting flat tires.”

Gordon said the pair “were racing for the lucky dog position” at the time of contact. Gordon said Logano “wrecked the No. 34 of Tony Raines … after the bus stop chicane” which allowed Gordon to clear the No. 20 in Turn 9.

“He saw that I was going to pass him for the Lucky Dog position, so he tried to block me,” Gordon said. “This maneuver resulted in his right rear tire connecting with my left front. From there, I felt he would be OK because he was in the section where the outer loop was. Rather than going down the inner loop, he decided to cut across the grass, hitting the tire barrier.”

Once Logano emerged from his flame engulfed car and was cleared at the infield care center, he was scored 33rd.

“We had a good car,” Logano said. “Probably not a winning car, but we could have continued our top-five streak. We just got wrecked. I don’t know what his problem was, but there is no room for that. The frustrating part is that I’m not going to be back in this car until Atlanta.

“You can’t fix stupid. It’s forever.” (Hey Joey I like you but can you come up with your own orginial line, instead of using another drivers sound bite from the first New Hampshire race this season?)

This is the second straight weekend Gordon has been involved in an on-track altercation. In last Monday’s rain-delayed Pennsylvania 500, the driver of the No. 7 was penalized five laps for aggressive driving after bumping into David Stremme during a caution period.

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