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Pocono postponed by persistent precipitation
2 August 2009
After hours of battling the elements and 'weepers', NASCAR finally conceded defeat and postponed Sunday afternoon's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 until 1215hrs local time on Monday.
It was the weepers — water from saturated ground seeping through the racing surface — that particularly frustrated track-drying efforts at Pocono Raceway, although a storm cell that arrived around 3pm, approximately one hour after the scheduled starting time, delivered the
coup de grace
and ultimately forced NASCAR to postpone the 21st race on the Sprint Cup schedule.
NASCAR called the race at approximately 4.15pm as track workers were cutting grooves into the asphalt to facilitate easier run-off of the seepage.
Monday's weather calls for partly cloudy skies with a ten per cent chance of rain and a high temperature of 77 degrees.
The postponement of the race will also delay NASCAR's visit to the White House, where president Obama was to honour Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and other luminaries of the sport on Monday afternoon.
This is the second time this season that the starting date of a race has been moved. David Reutimann won the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on 25 May, after rain washed out the scheduled start a day earlier.
Hendrick Motorsports team-mates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson will start side-by-side on the front row on Monday. With the front of the field set according to owner points after Friday's qualifying rain-out, Gordon moves up from the third spot to the pole position because points leader Tony Stewart, who would have started first, drops to the rear of the field after wrecking in Saturday's practice and going to a back-up car.
Johnson paced both practice sessions on Saturday, while Dale Earnhardt Jr, who starts 22nd, was fifth fastest in final practice in the same car that debuted last week at Indianapolis and ran consistently in the top ten until the engine expired late in the race.
Matt Kenseth, meanwhile, ended final practice 30th quickest and looking for speed. Kenseth, who has qualified for the Chase for the Championship every year since its inception in 2004, is currently twelfth in the standings — the final Chase-eligible position.
David Reutimann, 13th in points and hoping to unseat Kenseth, was 15th fastest in the final practice.
by Reid Spencer / Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
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