NASCAR’s seventh Cup Series race of 2018, at Bristol Motor Speedway, has been postponed until Monday, following a third red flag for rain midway through stage two of three.
Heavy rain had already been forecast for Sunday afternoon, forcing NASCAR to push their race start time one hour forward.
However, after two earlier red flags for rain during stages one and two, another stoppage was called midway through the race’s second stage, after which rain became heavier still and forced postponement.
NASCAR rules state a race cannot be declared official until its first two stages have been completed, though races stopped after this point can be considered complete and full points handed out.
Racing will resume at 1pm local time tomorrow.
Ganassi’s Kyle Larson will lead away the field in his Chevrolet, after a seven second advantage he had built over second placed Denny Hamlin was negated by the stoppage.
Paul Menard took advantage of strong pace from all four Penske-prepared Fords to place third before the race stopped, ahead of pole sitter Kyle Busch – Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Toyota team-mate - in fourth.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr – driving a Roush Fenway Ford – bounced back from an uncontrolled tyre penalty which had sent him outside the top 20 after stage one, climbing back to fifth before the race was halted.
Penske’s Ryan Blaney had led most of the race’s opening stage, but was eliminated in a pile-up while running first in an incident triggered by Trevor Bayne and Chris Buescher colliding while duelling ahead.
Reigning NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. was involved in a pile-up only moments after the race began, causing extensive damage to the front of his Furniture Row Racing Toyota.
Truex was caught up in a multi-car accident when a sideways Michael McDowell spun down Bristol’s steep banking and into the path of Chase Elliott.
Truex was forced to pit multiple times for repairs, as was Elliott, leaving both six and 22 laps down respectively.
McDowell only managed a handful more laps before retiring, and Truex was lucky to continue given Ross Chastain, who had rear-ended his Toyota during said accident, was forced to retire immediately.