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Kentucky: Rain forces Cup race postponement

Persistent showers in Kentucky meant that there was no opportunity to get the Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race underway on Saturday evening as planned.
This weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race has been rolled over from Saturday evening to Sunday noon because of rain in Sparta, where the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway is situated. It's the first time that a race has been postponed because of the weather so far in the 2013 season.

The forecast had been for intermittent showers for much of the day, and in the end the showers merged into a virtually non-stop line of rain systems that kept rolling over the race track for much of the day.

Rain had previously also forced the curtailment of the Nationwide Series race on Friday night, which was won by Brad Keselowski after the 200-lap race was red-flagged and called 30 laps before the scheduled finish.

"We knew it would be touch-and-go and from early in the morning we were tracking the weather," said NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp. "But the weather cells never did move out of the area."

NASCAR kept deploying the track dryers every time there was a brief respite in the rainfall, but each time the rain would pick up again and all progress that had been made would quickly be lost as the track surface was quickly wetted down again.

The track workers were also having problems contending with so-called 'weepers', where water would start to be pushed back up onto the surface through seams in areas that had already been dried.

Although the facility has floodlights and there was was official 'curfew' as to how late the race could be run once started, in the end NASCAR officials were forced to concede that the Quaker State 400 would simply not be happening on Saturday evening as planned.

"It's a 90-minute to two-hour window with the best of conditions, and once it reached around 9 p.m. and it was still raining and in the forecast, we made the decision we thought was best," said Tharp.

Unfortunately the forecast for Sunday is much the same, with a 60 per cent chance for scattered thundery showers. NASCAR is optimistic however that having been hit almost non-stop by rain on Saturday, the odds will be more in their favour and will deliver a sufficiently long break in the inclement weather to run the race.

If not, then the teams and drivers face the prospect of coming back and doing it all over again on Monday instead.

The last time that a Cup race was delayed by a way was at the start of 2012 when the season-opener at Daytona had to be run on Monday evening. The last time a race at the Kentucky Speedway was postponed was an ARCA event in July 2004.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won pole position for the race, with Carl Edwards due to start alongside him on the front row. Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch will start immediately behind them form the second row of the grid when the race does finally get underway - whenever that eventually proves to be.



Related Pictures

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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2013 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images.)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award and Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2013 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Crew members cover the #88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the rain prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 29, 2013 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 28, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #9 Jacob Companies Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 26, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones in action during the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates with a burnout after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Ross Kenseth in action during the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates in victory lane after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates in victory lane after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Restart during the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to victory, Sunday, June 14, 2015, in the rain shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Chevrolet SS greets fans before the race Sunday, June 14, 2015. Busch won the rain shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by John M. Galloway for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Chevrolet SS races to victory followed by second place finisher Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Amp Energy Chevrolet SS, and third place finisher Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS Sunday, June 14, 2015, in the rain shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Air Titan 2.0 trucks work to dry the track during a rain delay at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
A view of cars being covered on pit road as it starts to rain during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cars sit on pit road during a rain delay at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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