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NASCAR Cup New Hampshire

NASCAR hails wet tyre racing at New Hampshire "very successful"

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

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

NASCAR waited out a delay of over two hours in the final stage on Sunday and mandated teams ran the final 77 competitive laps on wet weather tyres.

Twice under caution, teams were allowed to fit new sets of wets with non-competitive pit stops, but organisers never felt the track dried enough to allow teams to return to slick tyres.

Although Christopher Bell led the final 64 laps of the 305 journey, the racing on the track was wild 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 tyre process was basically we wanted to get our races started on time and it really played into our hands [on 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 tyres 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 “tyre business” – dictating when teams can pit and what tyres they must utilise.

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 tyre 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 tyres 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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