Sports

Weather wreaks havoc on Sunday’s NASCAR race

A crew member stands by tires protected from the rain before a scheduled practice for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. Rain has delayed activities at the track. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/AP
A crew member stands by tires protected from the rain before Saturday’s scheduled practice for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series auto playoff race was canceled.

CONCORD, N.C. — Rain has wreaked havoc with NASCAR’s opening race for the second round of the playoffs.

All practice was canceled Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the start of Sunday’s race has already been moved up an hour to give NASCAR a bigger window to complete the 500-mile event.

It’s not the weekend that Charlotte officials had hoped for when they rearranged the schedule. This event has traditionally been held on Saturday nights but was washed out last year by Hurricane Matthew.

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Held the next day, on a gorgeous Carolina afternoon, the race was one of the more competitive events of the season. Drivers felt that running in the afternoon improved the on-track product, and Charlotte officials adjusted by moving the event to Sunday.

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Now, Hurricane Nate is expected to spoil the day.

The track had a different struggle Friday after it discovered it had not properly applied traction compound to the track. It required a second application in the turns, but not before it caused Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and David Ragan to wiggle exiting Turn 4 and hit the wall during practice. Both Earnhardt and Busch had to move to backup cars.

Charlotte officials figured out that not enough of the PJ1 sticky substance had been applied, and drivers had asked about it after practice.

‘‘The stuff that they sprayed down, it has had a bad reaction to the sun or something that has made it really slick,’’ Earnhardt said after Friday’s accident. ‘‘Something has made it to where it doesn’t have grip, it’s the opposite.’’

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Now the rain will wash some of the substance away, and with all practice canceled Saturday, drivers won’t know what to expect when the race does begin. Earnhardt crashed in the opening moments of Friday practice, and said he’d avoid the top line of the track until another driver demonstrates there’s no danger.