Rain scrubs Saturday AM Cup practice at Martinsville

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NASCAR’s newest version of its Air Titan track drying system is getting a workout this morning.

Rains at Martinsville Speedway forced NASCAR to deploy the new Air Titan 2.0 track dryers this morning, and they were still creeping along the half-mile oval at what was to be the 10 a.m. ET start for Sprint Cup practice.

That session was ultimately scrubbed, and the Camping World Truck Series’ qualifying session for this afternoon’s Kroger 250 has also been delayed slightly. NASCAR hopes to have that going around 11:30 a.m. ET.

Sprint Cup final practice is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET, with the Truck race scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET.

The National Weather Service had forecasted a 70 percent chance of rain in the Martinsville region for today.

Alonso would be ‘very happy’ to finish F1 career with McLaren

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Fernando Alonso says he would be “very happy” to see out his Formula 1 career with McLaren after signing a new multi-year contract with the British team, announced on Thursday.

Alonso, 36, ended speculation about his future by agreeing a new deal with McLaren, hopeful of returning to the front of the field next year when the team swaps Honda power for Renault engines.

Alonso admitted to considering options outside of F1 before agreeing to stay at McLaren, and was thought to only be chasing a one-year extension in order to be in a position to snap up a more attractive seat in the volatile 2019 market.

However, Alonso confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the deal with McLaren stretched beyond the end of next year, adding he would be content to see out his time in the sport with the team.

“I never talk about contracts, but one thing I can say is it is a long-term partnership,” Alonso said.

“I am very happy to finish my career at McLaren. So I don’t think it is going to be only one year.”

Alonso also revealed he had options with teams high up the field in F1 for 2018 just a couple of months ago, but was always leaning to staying at McLaren despite not scoring a podium with the team in almost three years.

“There were some other options in F1. In the summer there were still some options at the top teams, but my desire was to stay with McLaren,” Alonso said.

“But at that time they were in conversation with different engine suppliers, so I had to give them time to sort out their situation.

“Then McLaren opted for a Renault engine which delayed my decision, because I had to understand what Renault’s plans were for next years.

“But when I had everything on the table, everything was pretty clear.”