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What Happens if it Rains at the LA Coliseum?

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What’s Happening?

While there is still nearly a full week until the Clash at the LA Coliseum, the weather forecast looks a bit iffy. What will NASCAR do if the weather takes a downward turn? Thankfully, NASCAR is prepared to handle a light rain shower on a short track like the LA Coliseum.

  • While NASCAR cannot race in full wet conditions on ovals, they have a system to race on a damp track on short ovals. At 0.25 miles, the track at the LA Coliseum qualifies as a short oval.
  • NASCAR raced in damp conditions on short tracks twice in 2023. They did so in the Truck Series at Martinsville and in the Cup Series at North Wilkesboro.
  • Fans are hoping for no rain this weekend. There were plenty of rain-soaked race weekends in 2023, and fans are tired of that narrative.

The Equipment

NASCAR will bring elements of their wet weather package to the LA Coliseum including rain tires and defoggers, but, they will not bring mud flaps, lights, or wiper blades like are used on road courses. This was a rule change made in the offseason for short track races.

Wet weather tires are similar to tires found on a typical street vehicle. While normal racing tires are smooth with no tread for maximum grip, wet weather tires have treads meant to expel water and give drivers some grip on a wet track. Defoggers function just like the defoggers found on a regular street car.

So, why is NASCAR not bringing the full wet weather package to the Clash? The simple reason is that they do not need to.

The goal of the short-track wet weather package is not to race in the rain and wet conditions as they do on road courses. Rather, the goal is to shorten the delay time if rain does come through. As opposed to waiting maybe an hour or 2 after the rain stops for the track to dry, the cars can get back on the track in damp conditions and put on a race.

The extra equipment not used on short tracks is primarily for racing in truly wet conditions to minimize the effects of spray from the cars. On a merely damp race track, these issues are highly mitigated.

NASCAR In the Rain on Short Tracks in the Past

In 2023, NASCAR twice raced in damp conditions on short tracks. The first test came at Martinsville Speedway in the spring, a weekend that is often plagued by weather issues. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race was delayed by rain, but, once the rain stopped, they went onto the track to race in damp conditions.

The Cup Series had their opportunity to test out the new package about a month later at North Wilkesboro during the All-Star Race weekend. Rain came through and delayed the qualifying heat races for the weekend, but, the Cup Series cars took to the damp track and both races ran off without a hitch.

In both instances, NASCAR waited for the rain to stop, and they dried the track enough to make sure any standing water was removed. If it does rain during the Clash, NASCAR will probably employ the same tactic. They won’t just send the cars out there in the middle of a rainstorm, but, they will send the cars out there on a damp race track after either a light rain shower or briefly sweeping off the track after a heavy shower.

However, a long, heavy rainstorm could derail the weekend. NASCAR’s hope is that does not happen.

NASCAR is prepared for the weather to get crazier this weekend. However, the weather could still cripple this event if the weather gets truly ugly.

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