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Saturday action rained out at Martinsville

All track activity at Martinsville Speedway was rained off on Saturday, affecting NASCAR Sprint Cup practice and the Camping World Truck Series race.
Rain simply refused to go away over Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, meaning that the only action on offer was provided by the new upgraded Air Titan track drying vehicles trying ultimately without success to hold back the tide.

With the rain never easing up sufficiently long enough to get the half-mile circuit dried off, both NASCAR Sprint Cup practice sessions for this weekend's STP 500 had to be cancelled. That leaves the Cup drivers with no track time to work on race set-ups for Sunday's race, having focussed the sole practice session on Friday to preparing for qualifying.

However most teams arrived in Martinsville forewarned about the weather outlook, and planned accordingly.

"We unloaded in race trim because of the rain," said Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch, who won pole position for the race on Friday. "Getting some laps here in race trim is always nice because it gives you an opportunity to look at your notes and study some things."

"It's really vital I think - we really want[ed] to get this practice in and have a lot of things we want[ed] to try,' said Aric Almirola when asked how important Saturday's sessions had been to him and the Richard Petty Motorsports team. "We tried some things with the little bit we got to run in race trim and have somewhat of a direction for the race."

"I still feel pretty good about it," said Joey Logano of how he felt about Sunday while waiting out the rain. "We don't really show a ton of speed in practice and we feel pretty good when the race starts, so even if it rains out today it's not the end of the world. I'm not really worried about it. Obviously, people take their practice to try things and learn something, but really in all honesty we're OK. I feel like we have a shot at it."

In addition, qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race was also cancelled because of the rain, and the race itself rolled over to Sunday where it will now take place after the Cup race. The starting order for the Kroger 250 will be set by practice times, putting Darrell Wallace Jr. on pole position alongside Ryan Blaney.

The venue does not have floodlights, and so the race would need to start before 6pm local time to ensure that it was possible to run the two hour race. Although a race is 'in the books' at the halfway distance, NASCAR's policy is not to start an event without reasonable expectation of completing it.

The weather forecast continues to be problematic for Sunday morning with more mist and drizzle looking likely, but should then clear up in time for the two races. Currently the hope is that it will dry up with some sun, although conditions are expected to remain cool with wings gusting up to 35mph.


Tagged as: weather , rain , cup , Martinsville , Trucks

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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

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