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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]
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, races to a fourth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, races to his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career win with a victory lap and checkered flag, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory with a wave of the chequered flag Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, celebrates after taking the chequered flag during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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