The rain-postponed Duck Commander 500 is underway at Texas Motor Speedway – 21 hours after it was originally scheduled to kick off before unending rain and several thunderstorms prevented any racing action on Sunday.
While weather conditions are cloudy and temperatures are in the mid-60s, NASCAR officials and teams are likely approaching the race with the famous tagline of comedian Larry The Cable Guy: Git-R-Done – and as quick as possible.
Or at least get one lap past halfway (168 laps) of the 334-lap event to make it official.
The reason: the National Weather Service is predicting a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m. ET (the race began at 12:09 p.m. ET).
That prediction continues all the way up until 2 a.m. ET Tuesday – which, by the way, will be sunny with a high of 72.
Pole-sitter Tony Stewart held the lead for the first 10 laps as NASCAR officials determined the track’s viability for full-speed racing. The first 10 laps were run under competition caution green/yellow conditions before the race went full-tilt green on Lap 11.
NASCAR had scheduled a second competition caution at Lap 35 to check tire wear due to all-green conditions following yesterday’s rain. However, because Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashed on Lap 13, the competition caution has been delayed to Lap 48.
This is the seventh race of the 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup season. There have been six different winners in 2014 thus far: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Daytona 500), Kevin Harvick (Phoenix), Brad Keselowski (Las Vegas), Carl Edwards (Bristol), Kyle Busch (Fontana) and Kurt Busch (Martinsville).
“There’s a couple spots that are just damp, but the the guy up there in the pace car up there has a pretty good plan here to get us out there, let us run a couple laps under caution to see if the heat of these cars and motors help dry this thing out out a little bit,” Stewart said on Fox Sports while taking one of several pace laps prior to the start of the green flag. “(Track officials) have been out here since 5:30 (a.m. CT) and have done an awesome job.”
Keselowski went back into the pits on Lap 2 because the hood of his car was loose and popped up the hinges to keep the hood intact.
Ryan Newman also had to come into the pits on Lap 3 for the same issue, as well as to make sure his roof flap was secure.
Ditto for Danica Patrick’s car on Lap 4.
All three cars apparently came too close to jet dryers during parade laps and the blowback from the driers apparently got under the cars and loosened the flaps and hoods.
Several other drivers brought their cars onto pit road, including Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer, to have their cars looked over as a precautionary measure.