Carl Edwards’ crew pushes the Aflec Ford for inspection as a light rain fell on Pocono Raceway in Long Pond Sunday.Fred adams/for the times leader
LONG POND – The brightest part of the day brought a gloomy announcement at Pocono Raceway.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup race was being postponed Sunday and rescheduled for noon today.
Ironically, the sun finally broke through the clouds when the decision was made to nix the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at about 4 p.m., nearly two hours after its scheduled start.
But by that time, heavy rains in the morning and lighter rain about 3 p.m. were enough for NASCAR officials to give up any hope of running the race Sunday.
“We’re trying to determine right now and get a lay of the land and decide whether we can get it done in time,” NASCAR president Mike Helton told ESPN shortly before the postponement.
ESPN will televised today’s race live.
NASCAR was dealing with several issues Sunday.
First, there was drying the 2½-mile track. The process was proceeding nicely with hopes of starting the race at approximately 3:30 p.m. until the rain started again. Despite the sunshine, there were intermittent showers just outside the track after the postponement.
Secondly, the track was suffering from weepers, or water coming through the surface in spots after a second day of heavy rain. Qualifying was cancelled on Friday because of precipitation.
Finally, NASCAR was concerned that all 200 laps couldn’t be completed by starting after 4 p.m. The race takes about four hours and Pocono Raceway doesn’t have lights.
Today’s race will be the third time a Cup event at Pocono Raceway was moved to Monday. It will be the 64th Cup race at the track.
The 1979 Pennsylvania 500 had to be shifted due to inclement weather. Cale Yarborough won the race. The 2000 Pocono 500 was also moved, with Jeremy Mayfield prevailing.
Tony Stewart was awarded the pole Friday via owners points, but will drop to the rear of the field today after crashing his primary car during Saturday’s practice. Jimmie Johnson, who is second in points, will lead the field to the green flag.
SUNOCO RED CROSS
Pocono Raceway in Long Pond