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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)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, waves to fans after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, picks up the victory flag Sunday, May 3, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. This was Earnhardt, Jr.`s sixth victory at Talladega. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and his crew chief, Greg Ives, celebrate in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS Sunday, May 3, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. This was Earnhardt, Jr.`s sixth victory at Talladega. Johnson finished second behind Earnhardt, Jr. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 3, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. This was Earnhardt, Jr.`s sixth victory at Talladega. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Sponge Bob Square Pants Ford, wreck during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Earnhardt, Jr. is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 1, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
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People walk on pit road as rain falls prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 25, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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