UPDATE: 9:30 p.m. ET — Mother Nature has won tonight at Kentucky Speedway, as rain has forced NASCAR to postpone the Quaker State 400 to Sunday at Noon ET. For fans planning on returning to the track tomorrow, NASCAR.com’s David Caraviello reports that all tickets and parking passes from today will be honored; parking lots will open at 8 a.m. ET and track gates will open at 10 a.m. ET.
Another batch of rain hit the 1.5-mile oval around 8:30 p.m. ET, once again erasing the progress of track-drying teams. When NASCAR asked for an estimate on how long the track-drying process would take, they were told of a possible green flag at 11:30 p.m. ET if the rain would finally stop.
Earlier showers also delayed driver introductions, which were re-set for 7:15 p.m. ET after the original start time for the race (7:45 p.m. ET) had been effectively scratched. It usually takes between 90 minutes and two hours to dry the Kentucky oval.
Last night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race was affected by rain, which cut the event short at Lap 170 and gave the win to Brad Keselowski. It should also be noted that Kentucky Speedway does not have NASCAR’s new “Air Titan” track-drying system; according to USA Today’s Jeff Gluck, NASCAR requires tracks to pay for its use and Kentucky opted not to do so.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards will be on the front row for tomorrow’s race. Unfortunately, as it was tonight, a 50 percent chance of rain is in the forecast.
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”