Playing the Rain Game

If you don’t know what that means, stick around for a bit and I will explain.

There are strategies and then there are strategies. Whats the difference? Well one allows you to out wit, out last, and out play (Survivor anyone?) your opponents. The other one is more luck than anything else. In NASCAR at least, the latter happens when a race is threatened by rain or some other type of natural phenomenon that would otherwise prevent the race from completing on its own. When this happens after half the scheduled number of laps have been completed, NASCAR officials will normally call the race as complete. Some other sports like baseball do this as well. If it is before half way, they try to postpone it until Sunday or Monday and if they can’t get the race completed, they will call it.

This happens at least 2 or 3 times a year in NASCAR, thrice this year already. The SuperBowl of NASCAR, which oddly enough is at the beginning of the season, the Daytona 500, was called on the account of rain as some would say (including me) a bit earlier than they should have. The Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway was delayed after the start until Monday and then it rained more that day and was called 27 laps past halfway. And then just today, the Lenox Indutrial Tools 301 in Loudon, NH was shortened because of rain.

Why did I drag you all through that? Because in each of these races, the winner may not have been the best car on the track or someone who may have won had the race finished normally, but someone who played the Rain Game. Here is how it works. All the pit crew boxes have a lot of computer equipment where they track their cars telemetry (speed, rpm’s, tires, fuel mileage, etc.). They also track the weather. As the race progresses, crew chiefs monitor storms as they move towards the track. What they are hoping for is to be in first place when NASCAR calls the race. Does it work? It does if you are Matt Kenseth, David Reutimann, or most recently, Joey Logano. Was he the best car on the track today? Hardly. Was he lucky? Absolutely. He even said it himself, “I guess I’d rather be lucky than good right now, obviously, we didn’t have the car to win, but we’ve overcame a lot [Sunday] — tires down and more issues than you can imagine.” Read it here for yourself.

With the win, he has become the youngest driver to win a Sprint Cup race and it is his first win in the series.

Do I like it? No. Is it a strategy? Yes. Is it risky? You bet. Joey ran out of gas when they finally brought the field down pit road and red flagged the race. If they restarted it his car would not have.

But like they say, to finish first, first you have to finish. I guess that is what Joey did today in New Hampshire.

Just barely.

Had to happen sooner or later!

Yes it did, and I’m so glad I was able to watch and listen as it unfolded. Richard Petty Motorsports team #9 driven by Kasey Kahne made it to victory lane in Sonoma, CA at the Toyota/SaveMart 350. It has been 10 years since Richard Petty has had a team in victory lane, back when John Andretti won at Martinsville, VA in 1999. It was awesome to watch the race with my family and hear Savannah cheer on her favorite driver to victory.

Say what you want about NASCAR but when you get a race like the one Sunday night where it could have gone to any one of about 4 or 5 drivers, to see your driver make great pit stops and awesome restarts (4 of them late in the race) to stay out front and in front of road course guru Tony Stewart is just simply cool!  I hope this is the beginning of great things to happen for RPM and Kasey Kahne and the other drivers in RPM (AJ Allmending finished 7th and Elliott Sadler finished 10th).

Kasey is now 3 points out of 12th place. The top 12 drivers make the Chase for the Cup which is the last 10 races of the year. Those 12 drivers have their points reset to 5000 a piece and 10 extra points for each win they have and then are reseeded 1-12 for the last 10 races. In other words, lets say you are in 4th place to begin the Chase but have more wins that the other 11 drivers. Guess what? You are now in first place to start the Chase, pretty cool huh?

Anyway…on to Loudon, NH and the 1 mile track up there for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. Yeah, 301 miles, 301 laps. Don’t ask. The Race To The Chase begins Sunday June 28th at 1:30PM. Strap in and hold on!