September 18, 2011, 8:18 p.m.
NASCAR drivers never
got the chance to finally start their engines Sunday.
caused a delay of more than six hours before a final burst dashed plans to run
the Chase for the Sprint Cup kickoff at Chicagoland Speedway under the
Weather permitting, the race will start Monday at 9 a.m. PDT and
be televised on ESPN.
Kenseth shrugged off the postponement.
“We are pretty well set,” he
said. “The car is on the line. A 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.”
Light rain fell from late
morning into mid-afternoon, but NASCAR officials gambled that waiting out the
precipitation would pay off.
A break came around 3:45 p.m. and
Chicagoland Speedway crews jumped into action.
For the second time
Sunday, crews in five pickup trucks with hot-air blowers methodically circled
the 1.5-mile tri-oval for nearly two hours to ensure a dry track and make it
safe for racing.
But rain resumed around 6 p.m., just as crews apparently
had the track in driving condition.
Drivers had been introduced about
12:45 p.m. for the scheduled 1 p.m. start, but as rain persisted they went for
shelter and the normally busy garage and pit areas became deserted.
postponement was an all-around disappointment, particularly for fans who waited
out delays all afternoon as well as Chicagoland officials who eyed a potential
full house for the track’s first Chase for the Sprint Cup outing.
also an inconvenience for drivers and crews who will lose a day moving on to the
race next Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Monday’s forecast calls
for showers into the early afternoon, with clearing skies after that.
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