NASCAR officials do not expect the Sprint Cup to hold a race in the wet in the near future.
Although the Nationwide Series competed in the rain last year at Montreal, no Sprint Cup Series championship races have ever been held in the wet.
A demonstration event at Suzuka in 1997 was the only time that they ever competed with wet weather tires, while three years later a few cars ventured on a wet track during practice at Watkins Glen as an experiment.
This weekend Goodyear brought a new specification of rain tire to the track, but only with NASCAR's second-tier series in mind, as it has yet to be tested on a Sprint Cup car or even raced by the Nationwide cars.
"We go in whatever direction we are asked to go in," said Goodyear's Rick Henrich. "We didn't include any Sprint Cup cars in our testing program when we developed this tire. That would have to be worked on.
"The cars have a little higher center of gravity, a little more weight, and more horsepower [than the Nationwide car]. Those things all complicate running in the rain. I would think it would take some additional preparation for that to be done."
Juan Pablo Montoya tested the new rain tire for Goodyear in a Nationwide car at Goodyear's proving grounds in San Antonio, Texas back in November last year. It incorporates the use of carbon fiber to help stiffen the tire's sidewalls for improved handling. However, the running conducted back then was mainly straight-line and not at racing speeds.
The first real test for the new specification may come later this month when the Nationwide Series competes at Montreal for the third time. As well as wet tires, cars would need to be fitted with windshield wipers and de-fog systems, but even if adapted with such devices, some Cup drivers still prefer not to race in the wet.
"We have enough challenges trying to stay on the track when it's dry and I can't imagine what it would be like in a Cup race if it was wet," said four-time champion Jeff Gordon. "I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching it rain up there in Montreal last year. That was highly entertaining, but I was very glad that I wasn't inside the car.
"One of the biggest reasons, I think it would be fun to actually drive the cars in the rain if you get a consistent rain and you can feel the grip level but, as you saw, the windshield wipers don't work, the de-fog doesn't work.
"I don't know, I really don't know, but I'm not going to go over there and stand in line and beg them to put rain tires on us, I can tell you that."
Sprint Cup Series director John Darby says the new rain tyre Goodyear has developed may open up the possibility of staging a Cup race in the wet in the future, although for the time being he doesn't see that happening.
"I'm certainly not saying [a wet-weather race] will never come back to the Cup series," said Darby. "Because Goodyear has done a really, really nice job in developing the new wet tire, compared to what we had back in the Suzuka days."
"If you have standing water on the course it becomes almost impossible to compete. So I won't put [racing in the wet] completely off the map, but today it is what it is."
NASCAR officials hope to get the Sprint Cup series race at Watkins Glen in on Monday. Although the skies are cloudy, the forecast shows a slim chance of rain for the rest of the day.
Although rain has affected NASCAR events at Watkins Glen in the past, this year's postponement has only been the second in the history of the Sprint Cup at the track, after the 1987 race was won by former Cup champion Rusty Wallace on a Monday.