FORT WORTH – The Firestone 600 has had four different scheduled start times beginning with 7:50 p.m. ET Saturday night.
The race finally started just before 2:50 p.m. ET Sunday afternoon.
About 20 minutes after the fourth start time of 2:06 p.m. ET, Graham Rahal voiced his displeasure at the drying efforts of the track, saying fans at Texas Motor Speedway and watching on TV should receive an apology an apology.
Track dryers were still on the track as late as 2:35 p.m. ET working on weepers on the apron and the backstretch. At 2:41 p.m. ET, when drivers were called to their cars, the temperature at TMS was 89.2 degrees but felt like 98 degrees according to wunderground.com.
“It’s tough, because weepers only get worse when the sun hits the track,” Rahal said. “Fans don’t understand. No one has come on TV at track. Eddie Gossage or somebody should come on TV to apologize and explain what’s happening. We’re all sitting here and waiting.
“I feel terrible for the fans. Obviously they’re watching. We appreciate everyone tuning back in, and particular the ones sitting here in the heat.”
Gossage tweeted in response to Rahal’s comments.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was one of a handful of drivers that had inspected the track.
“There’s just some weepers that are really causing some issue. It sucks the water back out of ground. Heat brings it out,” Hunter-Reay told CNBC, saying the biggest concern was wet spots on the apron.
“If one car touches the wrong spot it creates a really bad deal and you’d kick yourself if not even trying,” Hunter-Reay said. “If this was a test day, we wouldn’t be running.
“We can essentially dry the racing lines out. It’s more the areas that don’t have a jet drier, like the apron. I could run right now.”