Rain Saturday night forced NASCAR to postpone the Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway. The 400-mile event was rescheduled for today at noon.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start on the pole in a Chevy alongside Carl Edwards’ Ford.
It was the circuit’s first postponement since last year’s season-opening Daytona 500.
Sunday’s rescheduling creates the first day Cup race for the 1.5-mile oval after two events at night.
Showers were forecast all day around the state, which arrived around mid-afternoon with a heavy downpour followed by sporadic rain. NASCAR delayed the start and held out hope for a late start with jet driers on the track, but another band of rain led officials to postpone the race just after 9 p.m.
“We knew it would be touch-and-go and from early in the morning we were tracking the weather,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. “We dispatched the driers and they stayed out ahead of it, but the weather cells never did move out of the area and they looked like they would linger.
“It’s a 90-minute to two-hour window with the best of conditions, and once it reached around 9 p.m. and it was still raining and in the forecast, we made the decision we thought was best.”
The postponement kept Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari from driving the (fast) lane before the race.
Initially slated to ride shotgun as the honorary pace car driver for the race, Calipari was asked to drive the Ford Fusion leading the 43-car field to the green flag.
Calipari’s crash-course instruction included 90-mph splits in the rain around the 1.5-mile oval by Kurt Busch, which had the coach “white-knuckled” and holding on tightly on the passenger side as the car came within inches of the outside retaining wall.
Fortunately for Calipari, he only has to drive a more comfortable 45 mph ahead of the field.