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First Chase race thwarted by rain

The first race of the post-season championship Chase has been postponed to Monday, after persistent rain bedevilled the area and resisted NASCAR's efforts to dry out the track.
The first race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, has been postponed from its scheduled Sunday start because of persistent rain that didn't abate long enough to allow proceedings to get underway.

The race has been rescheduled for 11am local time (5pm BST) on Monday, after having been originally planned to start at 1pm local time on Sunday.

The forecasts on Saturday had indicated some possible trouble with showers on race day, but the weather closed in faster than expected overnight and left Chicagoland Speedway beset by waves of drizzle interspersed with heavy downpours and occasional drier intermissions right from the start of Sunday.

NASCAR kept the jet driers hard at work all day trying to get the track into a fit state to get the cars out on, and things were looking up when a longer dry spell appeared in the late afternoon.

After two to three hours of preparation track was pretty much dry when - as if on cue - another band of rain swept through the area around Joliet, Illinois and left the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway drenched again at just after 6pm local time. That meant everyone now faced at least another two hours of drying to get the track back to the position it had been in just moments before, even if there was no further rain.

NASCAR took one final look at the situation, studied the unpromising rain radar, and called it a day at a little after 7pm local time.

It's the third time in recent weeks that a race has been unable to start on the scheduled day and been forced to be held over into a morning weekday slot. The Watkins Glen road race in August was delayed until a Monday, while dreadful post-tropical storm weather sweeping through Georgia forced the race at Atlanta two weeks ago to be pushed onto a Tuesday. However, this is the first time that the opening race of the Chase has been forced to postpone.

The weather forecast for Chicagoland on Monday is favourable, with showers forecast for the morning but drying up rapidly in the afternoon.

Because the track will have been 'washed clean' of all the rubber laid down in practice and qualifying sessions as well as by the Nationwide and Truck support races, there will be a mandatory competition caution early in the 267-lap race.




Related Pictures

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Crew members look over the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, driven by Jimmie Johnson, in the garage area as rain falls prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 in Joliet, Ill. [Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images]
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, walks with an umbrella as rain falls prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 in Joliet, Ill. [Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images]
Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, leads Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, drive driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinios.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Cars race after a restart lead by Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet (L), Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Cartwheel by Target Chevrolet (R) during the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Crew chief Chad Knaus inspects the car of Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, after a crash during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, crashes in the early part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualifies fourth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies fifth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, climbs from his car after being involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet SS, qualified fifth Friday, July 4, 2014 for Saturday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Johnson is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, applies the Winner`s Decal after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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