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.