Command to start engines given for Nationwide race at Richmond (UPDATED, 10:20 p.m. ET)

Leave a comment

UPDATE (10:20 p.m. ET): And finally, at long last, the command to start engines has been given at Richmond International Raceway. A competition caution will be thrown at Lap 40 tonight, and teams are not allowed to get fuel until that point of the race. Be sure to keep following MotorSportsTalk for coverage this evening.

UPDATE (9:55 p.m. ET): The Air Titans continue to work, but pre-race ceremonies have been completed for tonight’s ToyotaCare 250.

UPDATE (9:30 p.m. ET): The aforementioned big shower was a quick one as well, and the Air Titans have been able to make significant progress drying out Richmond International Raceway.

Additionally, NASCAR has confirmed that driver intros are set to take place very shortly.

If there are no more pop-up showers, that could mean the ToyotaCare 250 will finally see the green flag within the hour. Fingers crossed.

However, another race on tonight’s schedule at RIR will not go off as scheduled. The K&N Pro Series East was set to run after the Nationwide Series but will instead have its race tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET according to reports.

UPDATE (8 p.m. ET): Another big shower has likely pushed the start of tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Richmond International Raceway back even further.

Here’s how it looks from the eyes – or more likely, the phone – of Motor Racing Network’s Dustin Long:

NASCAR had hoped to get pre-race ceremonies underway at 7:45 p.m. ET, so all the drivers had to do was start engines when the track was dry. Instead…

This afternoon’s qualifying for the ToyotaCare 250 ended just before the rains started to soak the 3/4-mile bullring. In addition to delaying the Nationwide race, the rain scratched qualifying for tomorrow’s Toyota Owners 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Brian Scott is on the pole for tonight’s race, while Kyle Larson got the pole for tomorrow’s race after running the fastest lap in today’s first Sprint Cup practice session.

But for now, the only vehicles running at RIR are the Air Titans…

In case you want to keep track of the weather, here’s the current radar from the National Weather Service. When we get updates on a new timeline for tonight’s event, we’ll pass it along.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.