Goodyear’s wet-weather tires saved a significant delay at Richmond Raceway, an option still new to the NASCAR Cup Series on ovals but welcomed as drizzles hit the Virginia commonwealth shortly before the scheduled green flag.

Goodyear’s wet-weather oval tires first hit the track competitively with Cup Series cars last year at North Wilkesboro Speedway in the All-Star Race exhibition, but Sunday at Richmond marked the series’ first endeavor into damp oval conditions in a points-paying event. NASCAR officials deemed the track wet shortly before driver introductions and required teams to put on the treaded Goodyear rubber.

“First of all, credit to (NASCAR CEO) Jim France. This was his vision,” Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, said post-race. “A couple of years ago, he tasked the R&D Center and Goodyear to come up with a tire that we could run in the damp, and tonight was a success. We were able to get the race started pretty much on time. The guys did a great job with the tire. Goodyear did a phenomenal job.”

“Unlike road courses when pit road is wet, where we would allow the teams to make the decisions whether to put drys or wets on,” Sawyer explained, “on the short ovals, we’re still not to a place where we feel comfortable doing that. We’re looking out for the safety. This is only our third event that we’ve actually run wet-weather tires. …

“So we have another data point. That’s one thing we want to work hard on; is to be able to start the race, put all the competition in the teams’ hands and strategy. When to put tires on, when to take them off and the sanctioning body not be in the middle of that decision-making. I think we’ll get there sooner than later.”

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