The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is scheduled to come to a close today (Sunday) and a Sprint Cup Series champion is expected to be crowned at the conclusion of the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. But judging by the weather forecast, Mother Nature may have something to say about that. I checked out my phone’s weather app this morning and rain is predicted throughout the day today for Homestead, Fla.
Fans got their feathers ruffled last weekend when rain shortened the race at Phoenix International Raceway, handing the win over to Dale Earnhardt Jr. right after he beat Chaser Kevin Harvick off pit road after Harvick had dominated the race to that point. As far as Harvick’s championship hopes went, the Earnhardt rain-shortened win wasn’t a big deal, as Harvick still advanced to the Championship Four. But what about other drivers who may have raced their ways in had the race gone the distant.
Should a Chase race be rain shortened, or should NASCAR run the race to its completion, even if that means staying at a track and extra day, despite getting past halfway on the scheduled race day?
I wrote about this matter in this blog space earlier in the week. Then, I took the stance that NASCAR should stick to the rules, and the race at PIR ran past halfway. Because, yes, I believe NASCAR should follow its rule book, and at that point, there was no provision for carrying a race over to the next day after it gets past the halfway point on the scheduled day.
The topic I’m exploring this time around is whether or not a rule should be added to the rule book regarding rain delays/shortages in the Chase.
When it comes to the first nine races of the Chase, I say, “No.” And that goes for elimination races, too. In the first three rounds of the Chase, drivers have three chances to guarantee their advancement, so I think the current weather rules should stand.
Where I think a rule change should be considered is the season-finale. So much is on the line in the final race, and it’s a driver’s only chance in that “round,” if you can even call one race a “round.” The highest-finisher of the Championship Four at Homestead is the champ; that’s it.
I think that reason, alone, is enough to carry a race over to Monday, or even Tuesday if need be, to get to the full distance. Team members, specifically truck drivers hauling cars from track to track, don’t have to have cars at another track only a few days later.
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