NASCAR testing rain tyres at Martinsville Speedway

NASCAR has taken to the Martinsville Speedway to test a potential wet-weather option tyre provided by Goodyear to explore their feasibility on a damp oval track.

Thursday's test at Martinsville Speedway aims to determine whether rain tyres could be feasible at some short tracks in the future.

Kyle Larson will pilot the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and Chris Buescher will pilot the #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford on a dampened track.

NASCAR first used rain tyres in an official national series event back in 2008 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course in Montreal.

Cup cars used rain tyres for the first time during 2020's Charlotte Roval event, but never before on a full oval.

“I think the overall goal is anything we can do to speed up the drying process, regardless of the technology, to allow us to get back to racing more quickly is a benefit to the fans,” NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell told NASCAR.com.

“We’re always trying to innovate, and you saw that with what we’ve done around the track-drying system and that’s worked out well. We’ve always looked at what’s the next iteration.

 

"If you’ve looked at what the teams have been able to do with more road racing coming into the fold, the idea of short tracks and could we work with Goodyear to find a tyre that would allow us to get back to racing sooner under wet-weather conditions.”

NASCAR's goal seems to be less about racing in the rain on short ovals, but making it possible to get back racing on a damp track as soon as the rain stops. 

It is unknown how early it would be possible for Goodyear to supply a rain tyre following the test, but O'Donnell says it would implement it as quickly as possible if the test produced good results.

“[It's] too early to tell," admitted O'Donnell. "But I would say if this worked and we felt comfortable with it — and that would be both Goodyear and reaction from the drivers and teams — this is something we would look to implement as quickly as we could.

"We all know that if we can deliver a race on time or shorten those delays, that’s a benefit to the entire industry.”

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Rain postpones NASCAR Martinsville race until Sunday

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