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Kentucky: Rain forces Cup race postponement

30 June 2013

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.


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