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NASCAR Cup New Hampshire

NASCAR says wet weather racing at New Hampshire was "very successful"

NASCAR entered a new phase of racing with its wet weather tires in Sunday’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and it appeared to work as hoped.

NASCAR waited out a nearly two-hour, 15-minute rain delay in the final stage Sunday and mandated teams run the final 77 competitive laps on wet weather tires.

Twice under caution, NASCAR allowed teams to put on new sets of wets with non-competitive pit stops but never felt the track dried enough to allow teams to return to slick tires.

Although Christopher Bell led the final 64 of 305 laps, the racing on the track was wild and entertaining as drivers searched for the best lines as the track began to dry out.

“I think what we the way we started this whole wet weather tire process was basically we wanted to get our races started on time and it really played into our hand (Saturday) to get the Xfinity race started on time and to get our races back to green as quick as possible if we had a delay like today,” said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition.

Race winner Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Rheem Toyota Camry

Race winner Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Rheem Toyota Camry

Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

“Kudos to Goodyear. This was (NASCAR Chairman) Jim France’s vision of what wet weather tires could do. We ran 301-plus laps today. So, with the overtime, our fans got the whole ticket and they got to see some great exciting racing.”

Sawyer insisted NASCAR does not want to be in the “tire business” – dictating when teams can pit and what tires they must utilize.

However, resuming the race without completing drying pit road, presents numerous challenges if competitive pit stops were employed.

“There’s still some things that we’re learning through this process and in all honestly, we’d like to be out of the tire business,” he said. “We’d like to just turn that over to the teams.

“But as we continue to take small steps and we learn, eventually we’ll get there. We just want to do this in the safest way possible.”

Asked if NASCAR would rate the wet weather tires use at New Hampshire this weekend a success, Sawyer said, “Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, if you go back and look at the reason we came up with this and we started working through it with our teams and the folks at the R&D Center, it was to do exactly what we did yesterday and what we did today with the Cup race.

“So yes, very successful.”

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