Race Weekend Central

Eyes on Xfinity: NASCAR Put a Blot on a Great Weekend, But What Else Could It Do?

This weekend had it all.

A great story, a great track, huge long-time fan interest and new fans coming into the sport.

But there was one big problem.

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Xfinity Breakdown: Cole Custer Wins Downpour Debacle at Chicago Street Course

Cole Custer was handed his second NASCAR Xfinity Series win in four races as lightning was seen in the area with around 30 laps to go in NASCAR’s first-ever street course race, and the race never resumed. No one ever likes to see a weather delay, much less a race completely called due to weather, but could it have been avoided?

Nobody is going to argue that the race could have been finished on Saturday (July 1). There was simply no way with all the lighting in the area. Thus, NASCAR decided to postpone the race until the next morning.

That was fine. Everyone was okay with that. Nobody had any issues. We were going to get 30 laps the next day as a great little appetizer before the NASCAR Cup Series race, and all was going to be well. Then, this happened.

The rain just didn’t stop. And because the rain didn’t stop, the draining issues didn’t either.

Most racetracks are designed with drainage being one of the first things in mind. Now, I’m sure some civil engineer is going to say “So are streets!” and they’d somewhat be right, but Chicago streets are a bit different. Puddling on the track was a huge issue, and rightfully so. This led to another postponement to 11:45 a.m. ET, and then, ultimately, NASCAR had to release the following statement.

That was that, then, and the Xfinity Series was robbed of what otherwise could have been a beautifully historic opportunity for the series itself and its fans, and nobody was happy.

Most of the smaller Xfinity teams were going to leave the next morning, until the race was postponed. Thus, teams had to spend more for a night’s lodging. Jeremy Clements Racing reported an extra $1,500 in expenses due to that simple fact, and that might not seem like a lot to someone with a Gibbs or Earnhardt pocketbook, but to the smaller teams, that’s a decent chunk of change.

Then, there were the fans.

See also
Chandler Smith Stepping Up to the Plate in First Xfinity Season with Kaulig, Chevrolet

Most, like me, saw a sentence in that statement that NASCAR released and were puzzled by it. “…returning on Monday for the completion of a NASCAR Xfinity Series event two laps short of halfway was an option we chose not to employ.” That, of course, refers to the rule stating that in order for a race to be called early, it must have reached the halfway mark or the completion of stage two, whichever comes first. This race didn’t, so everyone, including myself, figured NASCAR would follow the rules that it set in place for itself, right?

Wrong.

Fans felt robbed, and they should. I agree, two laps isn’t much, but it’s not halfway either, is it? NASCAR had a nightmare situation on its hands with one of the best Xfinity crowds on hand to date at a track everyone had been waiting to see, and instead of staying at the table when the chips were down to make the race happen, it folded, walked away and showed yet again that it didn’t truly care about the Xfinity Series at all.

The red-headed stepchild got looked over again, and it’s a real shame, too. “Nothing changes if nothing changes,” and I’m sorry Xfinity fans, but it looks like nothing is going to change anytime soon.

About the author

Tanner Marlar is a staff writer for On3 Sports' Maroon and White Daily covering Mississippi State Athletics, an AP Wire reporter, an award-winning sports columnist and talk show host and master's student at Mississippi State University. Soon, Tanner will be pursuing a PhD. in Communicative Research.

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DoninAjax

You mean NA$CAR isn’t going to offer a partial refund to the ticket buyers?

Kicks

Not The first time an inaugural event in Chicago has been rained out. Back on 8-8-88 the first night game at Wrigley Field got started only to be rained out by a downpour. At least baseball knows how to make up for a rainout.

WJW Motorsports

What else could it do? Well, for starters, it could have been where it should have been – in Daytona for the Firecracker weekend. Alternatively, it could have been in Wisconsin, at a track supported by people who actually love racing and don’t actually hate the country. Neither one of those farces last weekend should count for anything – as neither result was legitimate, but it has been a long, long time since NASCAR cared a lick about legitimacy.

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