14 August 2011
Watkins Glen postponed to Monday for rain
The 'Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen' Cup road course race failed to get underway, after rain rolled in just as cars prepared to take to the road course.
NASCAR has been forced to roll over the Sprint Cup race at this historic Watkins Glen International road course in New York state to Monday, after rain prevented the race from turning a single lap.
The 'Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen' had already been brought forward in an attempt to beat the weather fronts that radar showed were inexorably bearing down on the circuit, but no sooner had the pre-race ceremonies been completed than the rain began to fall.
At one point, nearly three hours after the planned start time, the rain appeared to be easing and NASCAR hurried jet blowers out onto the course to try and dry things up, but before they could make any real impression on the situation the rain started to fall again and the radar outlook was bleak.
That forced the decision to roll the race over to Monday morning, with the new official start time of 10am local time (3pm BST), earlier than usual as there are still concerns about further showers and rain plaguing the area.
The last time that the Watkins Glen event was delayed until Monday was 2009, when the eventual winner was Tony Stewart.
NASCAR Sprint Cup does not allow any wet weather running, even though Goodyear provide wet tyres to the junior Nationwide Series for road course events. With road tracks so infrequent in Cup racing - only two races at Infineon and Watkins Glen out of a 36-race season - it's felt that the drivers simply do not have the wet running experience to allow them to make a decent showing.
Speaking in 2009 after the last rain-delayed race at the Glen, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp had explained: "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." He added, "We feel like that would be better for competition, that would better for the level of racing that the fans are accustomed to seeing."
When this year's race does finally get underway, Kyle Busch will start from pole position with AJ Allmendinger starting from second and his Richard Petty Motorsport team mate (and road course specialist) Marcos Ambrose will be starting from third just behind them.
"It doesn't bother me. Of course, you'd like to be racing right now but this is part of it and this is the way it works," said Allmendinger. "I'm trying to just stay pretty relaxed and have fun with the guys. I'm just gonna hang out and be ready when it's time to go whenever that is."
For his part, Ambrose insisted that the delay wasn't stressing him out. "No, not at all, it keeps me relaxed," he said. "You can't fight the weather, so I just worry about stuff you can control. I've got the kids here with me, so I'm going to play with them a little bit and chill out ... play a bit of PlayStation, play with the kids and have something to eat."
And now he and the rest of the drivers and their families can do it all again on Monday, hopefully with more on-track activity this time.
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