Goodyear will have rain tires available at Charlotte Motor Speedway in case of rain at the track on the day of the Bank of America Roval 400 at the track in Concord, North Carolina, on Sept. 30.
“Having wet weather tires at teams’ disposal is a great thing for the drivers and the fans as well,” Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President Greg Walter said in a press release from the track. “The roval is a challenge unto itself, but giving teams the opportunity to use tires designed for a wet surface adds even more unpredictability to the race. Rain or shine, I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.”
While teams in NASCAR’s three national series—Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Truck series—don’t race in wet conditions at ovals, they do at road courses. This year is the first for the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval road-course hybrid and the first road-course race, ever, in the Cup Series playoffs. The Bank of America Roval 400 will be the elimination race of the first three-race rounds of the playoffs. It’ll be the third road-course race of the 2018 season, following Sonoma Raceway in California and Watkins Glen International in New York. The Xfinity Series will also race the roval Sept. 29.
Rain tires were last used by a NASCAR national series in the Xfinity Series at Watkins Glen in early August. The tires feature tread patterns that redirect moisure, allowing for some grip. A typical NASCAR race tire is smooth, having no tread pattern. According to Goodyear, the rain tires on-hand at the Charlotte roval will be made of the same compound as the rain tires used at the other road courses.
“There was some debate about whether or not we should run rain tires on the roval because of how much you run on the bankings [of the oval portion of the course] and the speed you may or may not have,’’ Goodyear General Manager of Worldwide Racing Stu Grant said. “There was some due diligence on whether or not rain tires should be run. A lot of modeling, a lot of simulation, and it looks like the speeds are going to be comparable to Watkins Glen and NASCAR has made the call, yeah, Goodyear go ahead and have rain tires available for this race.’’
For racing in the rain, NASCAR teams also add windshield wipers and brake lights to their cars.