Texas Motor Speedway

NASCAR's Cup Playoff at Texas Postponed Because of Mist

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Efforts to dry the track at Texas Motor Speedway late Monday afternoon came up short as NASCAR postponed the Autotrader Echo Park 500 for a second straight day due to drizzle and misty conditions.

The only laps completed Monday on the 1 1/2-mile track were by the Air Titan and jet dryer trucks. The race cars remained parked in the garage.

The race is scheduled to resume Tuesday at 11 a.m. on NBC Sports Network, though the forecast calls for similar conditions through Wednesday.

The weather Monday didn't stop some diehard fans from waiting it out at the track.

"NASCAR had said there might be a 2-3 hour window to try and get some stuff in," race fan Lonnie Gillilan said. "So we came out and looked at the track and that's not looking good. But (we're) keeping our fingers crossed."

Gillilan's friend Randy Bird, who flew in from Hawaii for the race, wasn't optimistic and thought he had a better plan than running the jet dryers for hours.

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"I think they should just save the money in the jet fuel for the jet dryers they just need to look at the weather down the week and postpone it until then," Bird said. "They need to make a decision early though because I'm cold."

Cold or not, Jessie Billings and his girlfriend were willing to stick it out as long as needed. Multiple jackets certainly helped.

"I've got three (jackets) on right now so my buddy, Tim, bought me the Keselowski jacket so I get to rock my driver and stay warm so that's a plus," Billings said.

"It is cold and wet," NASCAR fan Ashley Dye said. "But we don't get to come to a race very often and when we do, we go all out."

"It's actually still been fun," fan Tim Cox said. "I know the weather's terrible but the experience just coming in and at least I got to see 53 laps, let's put it that way."

Only 52 of the 334 laps were completed Sunday before mist and drizzle forced the race to stop. There was a delay of more than four hours before the race was postponed until Monday morning.

Two drivers retiring from full-time NASCAR competition after this season, Clint Bowyer and seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, were running 1-2 when the race was halted.

The cars kept running for eight laps after the weather caution first came out, with jet dryers circling the track at the same time. The cars sat uncovered on pit road for about half an hour before the tarps came out and the drivers and crews headed for cover.

Texas Motor Speedway shared video of the efforts to dry the track on Monday in hopes of finishing the Autotrader Echo Park 500. Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race was halted 52 laps into the 334 lap race because of low temperatures and wet conditions.

Erik Jones was running third, ahead of Joey Logano, the only driver locked into a spot in the final four after winning a week earlier at Kansas.

Martin Truex Jr. was in fifth place, having already recovered from being forced to start at the back of the field because of an illegal spoiler. He was just ahead of fellow playoff contender Chase Elliott.

Kevin Harvick, who has won the last three fall races in Texas and is a nine-time winner this season, brushed the wall while leading on Lap 29. With damage to his car's right side, he was 36th and one lap down when the race stopped.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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