Why NASCAR made the decision to call off Coca-Cola 600 track drying

why nascar made the decision to call off coca-cola 600 track drying

Why NASCAR made the decision to call off Coca-Cola 600 track drying

NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, Elton Sawyer, said too much rain fell too quickly and too late, leading to the decision to call the Coca Cola 600 with just over 150 laps remaining.

The rain started to fall, lightly, at 9:30 on Lap 245. Then came a lighting hold before the rain turned into a deluge at 9:50. It was a lot of rain and Sawyer says the amount of time it would take to dry the track made their efforts to that point untenable.

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“We were up for it,” Saywer said during his weekly segment on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We attempted to get the track dry but it just wasn’t going to come in.

“As all that started unfolding and looking at the timelines, the amount of racing we needed to complete at 151 laps, we were looking at well past 2 a.m., which didn’t feel right for our competitors or fans alike, all the track workers that had been there all day.

“Unfortunate. Hated to have to get to that point but that’s where we landed.”

It was not a popular decision, either amongst those watching in person or on television. The track looked increasingly ready, and after winning the race with driver Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs said he was told they were about 15 minutes away from restarting the race when the decision to cancel the remaining laps was made at 11:30.

Ultimately, the track did have weepers seeping from the seams and the humidity was making it more of an uphill challenge than Sawyer said everyone anticipated.

“Every situation is different, you know, depending on the weather conditions, obviously after it stopped raining, the humidity and things of that nature,” Sawyer said. “When you start putting all that into place, the things that we have full control over is obviously we have our Air Tundras, we have all the drying equipment there, and, and once it’s stopped and we could start the process, and begin communicating with our folks on the ground who have done this for many years — they get a feel pretty quickly of where we’re at.

“We wanted to make a run at it. We knew it was going to be a little bit of a challenge but we wanted to give every effort that we could because our fans deserve that. A lot went into Sunday, with (Kyle) Larson going back-and-forth and to see him in the car would have been great, but it unfortunately didn’t work out that way.”

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Sawyer was also adamant that FOX didn’t make the decision for them, which has been a popular online theory over the Memorial Day holiday.

“It’s NASCAR’s decision,” Sawyer said. “We do work closely with the folks at the Speedway and work closely with our TV partners to get to the right decision. If you look at how the day unfolds, there are a lot of workers behind the scenes there early in the morning to get the facility ready. There’s local law enforcement officers there to direct traffic and things of that nature. …

“But you start to dig into the timeline, and again, start to get to that 1:30-2:00 range for when you get to the checkered flag and these are all based on having a clean race to the end, so if you have multiple caution flags, now you’re looking at 3 a.m. So you have to take that into consideration.

“It’s not the decision we wanted to make but the one we had to make at that point in time.”

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

Follow Sportsnaut on MSN to see more exclusive sports content.

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