After the 2019 Rolex 24 Hours, which was called 10 minutes early after heavy rain during the second half of the race resulted in numerous lengthy Full-Course Yellows and two red flag periods, IMSA official Mark Raffauf spoke to the media.
In doing so, he provided more clarity in the decision-making process during the rain-soaked portion of the race. Here’s what he had to say:
“We have a very solid team in race control. We obviously take safety into account primarily, and competition secondarily.
“We choose to do what we did based on the best information we had available to us on the condition of the track. In terms of visibility, we took into account a lot of different inputs. We feel very confident we treated it well.
“The biggest problem with the speedway is that when it becomes saturated, it’s hard to remove it from the asphalt. We feel its senseless to carry on when it’s peaked, so twice today we made decisions to stop the race to try use all the resources and staff at Daytona to get the track back, provide a surface that’s usable. We were strongly content on fullfilling the obligation of finishing the race if possible. We used all the hardware, people and staff we had to do that, but unfortunately, we came up a little short.
“The Speedway unloaded the whole garage for us, we had jets, we had vaccum trucks, buffalo sweepers, to remove standing water. There are places with a lot of puddles, but there are a lot of places you can go where there aren’t. You need to provide a rain line, and reduce the amount of standing water on the circuit, which is mainly flat, and where water will pool. We used all of those, burning grass with the jets, sucking it up, blow it as far off the surface as we could…
“The Speedway infield was last repaved in the early 2000s, and over time with teh amount of use the facility gets, it becomes worn, so certain parts of the track are slippery when dry. I know there are certain parts of the track like the East Horseshoe where the track is smooth because of how much it’s used.
“There’s not really (much else they could have done had they known how bad the weather would be in advanced), we do a lot of work with weather services to anticipate rain, wind, lightining. We knew it was coming, it was just how much comes and at what periods of time. It came slowly, but it built and it was quite a load of rain today. The track itself is fine, the banking isn’t bad, but visibility was another thing, with Michelins that was a new experience for us.
“We knew it was coming, we just had to do the best with the resources we had. That’s what I feel we did.”