Bristol NASCAR Cup race on dirt postponed until Monday due to rain
Heavy overnight rain and persistent showers on Sunday around Bristol Motor Speedway have postponed the NASCAR Cup's first race on dirt for over 50 years until Monday.
Heavy rains on Saturday night left the parking and campground areas around venue flooded and rain was expected to continue until late afternoon on Sunday.
Once it stopped raining, the dirt track surface would require extensive track preparation that made conducting Sunday’s races impractical.
NASCAR also said Sullivan County flood warnings and safety concerns played a role in the decision.
Sunday’s Cup Series race – the first in the series on dirt since 1907 – has been postponed until 4pm local time on Monday.
Because the heat races were cancelled on Saturday, the race line-up will be set based on owner points.
Kyle Larson would have started the Cup race from the pole but changed engines over the weekend and will have to start the race from the rear of the field.
Last weekend’s race winner, Ryan Blaney, will now begin the Cup race from the front when the race takes the green flag.
Ryan Blaney - Bristol practice
Photo by: Motorsport Images
On Saturday, NASCAR has adjusted the stage lengths and tyre allotment for the race having gathered information from teams, drivers, Bristol Motor Speedway and Goodyear following Friday’s two practice sessions.
NASCAR has now altered the stage lengths to 100 laps, 100 laps and 50 laps for the final stage (from 75, 75 and 100 laps) and there will instead be two competition cautions during the race – on lap 50 and lap 150.
NASCAR said the adjustments will provide two additional opportunities for track preparation and shorten the length of time between them.
Each team will also receive an additional set of tyres.
Blaney was fastest in final practice on Friday and said the track conditions were "really rough".
"The track is kind of coming up and there are crazy big divots," said Blaney after that session. "It’s definitely not smooth.
"You just run through things that you think will work.
"We’re seeing a lot of tyres cording pretty quickly, especially right-rears.
"That’s something that’s going to come into play is saving your tyres."