NASCAR Update: Clash at the Coliseum Under Major Threat as LA Under High Risk of Flooding

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The third Busch Light Clash is set for this weekend as all the teams travel to L.A. Coliseum. However, with just a handful of days now remaining for the grand opening of the Cup Series, the event seems to be marred by brutal weather predictions and storm alerts which could play spoilsport. According to the National Weather Service, Los Angeles has predicted heavy rains that can be potentially life-threatening. This was certainly not something NASCAR would be happy about. But what happens if it rains at a NASCAR race?
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NASCAR does not run races under heavy rain as it poses a threat to drivers’ safety. Moreover, in this case, the fans and general public’s well-being has to be taken into consideration as well. The weather update by NWS Los Angeles on X stated, “Updated timing graphic, with the focus now on the late Sat -Tue/Wed storm system. Heavy Rain expected with potential for damaging, life-threatening flooding. Strong winds & high elevation snow as well. Prepare now! #CAwx.”
Addressing the situation of the Busch Light Clash event, FOX reporter Bob Pockrass provided an update on possible scenarios that can come into play. One is that NASCAR would make it work with the support of authorities owing the public safety concerns. Although we have rain tires this time around, they only come in handy in case of damp track conditions and not heavy downpours. Even if NASCAR is lucky enough to see the rains stop, they will need at least 2 hours to get the track dry and race-ready. The event can also be stretched for extra days based on weather forecast, logistics costs, and the preparations for the opener at Daytona International Speedway.
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2022 marked the first time a season-opening exhibition had not been held at Daytona International Speedway since its 1979 inception. The made-for-TV event was a clear success in 2022. But the enthusiasm died just after a year and the Clash came off as simply an excuse for NASCAR to maintain a presence in Southern California.
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However, while the weather might play spoilsport, the city and the organization are doing everything in their power to elevate the event and make it the biggest opener for the fans. The only hope right now is for the rain to not run riot during the race hours. But here are some of the things you should know about NASCAR rules when it rains.
NASCAR rules for racing under heavy rain conditions
NASCAR cannot race under strong rain considering that the cars do not have wipers, lights, or rain flaps for short tracks this year. If there is rain or water on the race tracks at the start of the race, the start will be delayed until the water is cleared and the track is dry.
During a NASCAR race, if rain begins, officials promptly wave a yellow caution flag. Its purpose is to slow down the race and prompt all drivers to reduce speed due to safety concerns. Wet conditions create a slippery and riskier track for high-speed racing. Should the rain persist or get worse, the red flag will be waved signaling the event’s end.
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However, if the race is past its halfway and then gets interrupted by ran, according to NASCAR rules, the race can be deemed “official.” This means that the driver leading at the time the red flag was waved for rain would be declared the winner. This rule is a major factor that drivers and teams consider when planning their strategy in races with a potential for rain.
In rain-shortened races that are declared official, full championship points are awarded based on the running order when the race is stopped. This can significantly affect the season-long championship battle. There’s also a flip side to this rule where the race can be completed either at a later time or on a later day.
The power rests in the hands of NASCAR officials who determine which of the options suits the event. With millions of dollars on the line, the decision taken by officials on the day can make or break a team’s fortune. In the worst-case scenario, if the race is delayed for several days, it can be rescheduled for the week after, but this is highly unlike in the case of the Busch Light Clash.
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It is now up to the rain gods who will decide if the event will see gloomy dark clouds on Feb 4 or not.
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