Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

Rain pushes NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Kentucky to Sunday

SPARTA, Ky. — Rain forced NASCAR to postpone Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway until noon today.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who earned his first pole since September at Richmond, will start today's Quaker State 400 up front in a Chevy with Carl Edwards alongside in a Ford.

It was the circuit's first postponement since last year's season-opening Daytona 500.

This rescheduling creates the first day Cup race for the 1½-mile oval after two events at night. It's also the first time any NASCAR event has been postponed at Kentucky Speedway in 11 years. The only time it happened previously was a 2002 Nationwide series event.

Kentucky Speedway officials had problems drying the track because of weepers, which is water seeping up through the asphalt.

The weather forecast for today calls for a 60 percent chance for scattered thundershowers.

On Saturday, the forecasted showers arrived around midafternoon with a heavy downpour followed by sporadic rain. NASCAR delayed the start and held out hope for a late start with jet driers on the track, but another band of rain led officials to postpone the race just after 9 p.m.

"We knew it would be touch-and-go and from early in the morning we were tracking the weather," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We dispatched the driers and they stayed out ahead of it, but the weather cells never did move out of the area and they looked like they would linger.

"It's a 90-minute to 2-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."

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