NASCAR: Rain postpones race
Published 12:00 am Monday, September 19, 2011
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) ó Rain at Chicagoland Speedway has forced NASCAR to postpone the opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
NASCAR will attempt to run the race Monday at noon Eastern.
ěThe rain presents an issue that nobody has much control over,î NASCAR president Mike Helton said. ěItís uncomfortable but we appreciate everybody tolerating and hanging this there with us.î
Drivers were introduced about 12:45 p.m. for the scheduled 1 p.m. start, but as rain persisted they went for shelter and normally busy garage and pit areas eventually became deserted.
The forecast never looked good, but because the facility has lights, NASCAR waited all day for a window to dry the track.
Persistent light rain fell from late morning into mid-afternoon, but NASCAR officials gambled that waiting would pay off.
Officials got the window they were hoping for around 3:45 p.m., and five pickup trucks equipped with hot-air blowers methodically circled the tri-oval for nearly two hours, but the sky opened again six hours after the scheduled start.
ěWe are pretty well set,î Kenseth said. ěA delay is no big deal. We might look at the temperature and readjust our tape or something like that, something little. We will just go on and plan like we had planned.î
Matt Kenseth will start from the pole when the race goes off on Monday. Six Chase drivers are starting in the top 10, with Kevin Harvick the lowest qualifying Chase driver at 30th.
This is the second time in three weeks the race has been disrupted by rain.