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Remainder of Michigan NASCAR Cup race postponed to Monday

The conclusion of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Michigan has been postponed until Monday due to persistent rain.

Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy Toyota Camry and Martin Truex Jr, Joe Gibbs Racing, Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry

Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

The start of Sunday’s race was delayed by more than 90 minutes due to rain but eventually got under way, only to see the race placed under caution on lap 75 of 200 when it returned to area around the 2-mile oval.

After waiting more than 50 minutes, NASCAR decided to postpone the remainder of the race until 12 p.m. ET on Monday.

At the time the race was called, Tyler Reddick was in the lead, followed by Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones. Completing the top 10 running order were Austin Cindric, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin.

But it was a nightmare first part of the race for Chase Elliott, who had a rear tyre deflate which triggered his Turn 2 crash just before the conclusion of the first stage. The damage sent him into the garage early and out of the running.

Elliott, who missed several races earlier this season due to injury and a one-race suspension, was running seventh but the crash will leave him with a 36th-place finish – making his task of making the playoffs even tougher.

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

The 2020 NASCAR Cup champion was still mathematically in contention to make the 16-driver playoffs on points coming into the weekend, but needed a string of strong runs in the final four regular season races to do so.

With the road courses at Watkins Glen and Indianapolis, plus the superspeedway of Daytona still to go before the playoff format kicks into action, Elliott still has favourable tracks where he could win his first race of the year and lock himself into the playoffs, but effectively must win one of those to make the title fight.

“I hate that happened. It’s really early in the day to have a tire blow like that, it’s really weird,” Elliott said. “Bummer, but not surprised.”

Both William Byron and Kyle Busch were also out early in Michigan but both are assured of playoff spots already.

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