Watkins Glen due to be repaved
Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International, after the Cup tour's second such rain-postponement here in the past three years, is already talking with his track engineers about how to repave and redesign the 2.45-mile road course to make it racing-in-the-rain worthy, Printup said Monday morning just before the start of the Sprint Cup series race here in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York.
Goodyear has stock car racing rain tires, first designed and tested 15 years ago here. And they've been used by NASCAR, during a Cup exhibition in Japan and in a Nationwide race at Montreal two years ago.
And NASCAR teams have expertise and equipment to defog windshields and for wiping rain off the glass.
However the track itself must have adequate drainage to make it race-worthy for Cup drivers.
Sunday's 'wet' was just a long, nagging drizzle, not a Montreal-type downpour; so Goodyear's rain tires would have worked well here Sunday…if the track itself were designed to keep puddles from forming hydroplaning spots.
And the Goodyear rain tires themselves might need to be updated….and Cup teams would need to do some 'wet work' to become better prepared for racing in the rain.
"Hopefully we get the rain tires (for Cup)," Printup says.
"But we are on the docket (at ISC) to have this track repaved during the next two years.
"So we are literally right now talking with our track engineer about repaving and what we're going to do and getting some estimates."
"But this is a $15 million to $20 million project.
"However, it's like everything else – like painting your house – you've got to paint your house. And paving our track is like 'painting' our house.
"We've got to get that done so we can get the rain tires on the cars…so we don't have to do this on Mondays.
"This is two out of three years for me that we've had to do it on Monday. And that's not good for the fans."
Sunday's weather, all in all, was just about 'perfect' for racing in the rain, if need be. Not raining hard enough to really aggravate fans already here.
"And we were sooo close," Printup said. "We were probably within 30 minutes of going (green) Sunday.
"So hopefully we can get this track repaved and get the rain tires on the (Cup) cars, and be able to race in this stuff." MikeMulhern.net