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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]
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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)
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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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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, left, talks with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on June 27, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, June 15, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. It was Johnson`s third win of the year and first at Michigan International Speedway.  He is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. With him is Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who finished thirteenth. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win with a burnout Sunday, June 15, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. It was Johnson`s third win of the year and first at Michigan International Speedway.  He is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday, June 15, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. It was Johnson`s third win of the year and first at Michigan International Speedway.  He is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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