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Head2Head: Should Cup Series use rain tires on road courses?

August 16, 2011, ,

Last Sunday at Watkins Glen, rain fell, and fell, and fell, forcing NASCAR to move the Cup Series race to Monday. Rain tires could be used, but NASCAR refuses to allow Cup races run in the rain. Interestingly, this weekend the Nationwide Series races on the road course in Montreal and rain could be a factor. If it is, rain tires will be used and the race will be run in the rain, like it was in 2008.

Should the Cup Series use rain tires at road courses?


I've never understood how people can call NASCAR drivers the best in the world, yet want to keep them in a protective bubble anytime it rains. It makes no sense.

There is absolutely no reason the Cup cars couldn't have raced at Watkins Glen last Sunday in the rainy weather. Slap some rain tires on those cars and let them race ... on road courses. Ovals are a different story, no question, and rain tires should not be used. But for road races, put them on and let them race.

The safety argument makes no sense to me. Are you saying we would have seen worse crashes than we did Monday? Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, David Ragan and David Reutimann had some intense slams into the wall ... I have a hard time believing racing in the rain would somehow make it more dangerous.

These are the best drivers in the world, they will adjust. Crew chiefs are the smartest people in racing, they will adjust. It provides an added element that teams will have to work through, and that makes it more exciting. I'm sure football players would prefer not playing in the snow, but they don't have that option.

I don't understand why is it OK for Nationwide and not for Cup? If the minor leaguers can pull it off, I have to believe the superstars can. If it's raining at a road course, put the rain tires on and let them go at it ... it's what they get paid to do.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

A Sprint Cup race using rain tires would be one of the worst ideas NASCAR could ever try.

Rain last Sunday at Watkins Glen International opened another debate about using grooved Goodyear tires at Sprint Cup road courses.

The argument for "rains" is no more valid in 2011 than in the mid-1990s, when they were developed, tested and even used in several NASCAR applications; ultimately in all three national tours. One was qualifying for a Cup exhibition event at Japan's Suzuka Circuit road course, for an official WGI Truck Series practice and the 2008 Montreal Nationwide Series race. None stood out for anything but uniqueness.

They certainly couldn't be considered artistic or realistic successes. If fans were honest, they'd choose "race" over "spectacle" every time. And road racing drivers were raised racing in the rain. Stock car drivers weren't.

NASCAR's most profane application of rain tires is even considering them for any national series, because its use is no more valid in Nationwide than it'd be in Cup.

Could they be used? Of course they could, just like if you threw 100 people off a 50-foot cliff, some people would survive. That doesn't mean anyone should be tossed. Just toss aside the idea of ever using rain tires on Cup cars. It goes against the sport's very core.

Dave Rodman, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Why the discrepancy? Is it time for the Cup Series to mirror what the Nationwide Series does when it comes to rain tires? Bill Kimm and Dave Rodman have their opinions on this. Read theirs and weigh in with your own in the comments below. And don't forget to vote for whom you agree with in the poll at the right.