NASCAR’s Nextel Cup race at Michigan, the 3M Performance 400 will begin Monday at noon Eastern Time after the scheduled Sunday race was rained out. From Saturday evening through Sunday, Southern Michigan experienced constant rain. There was a brief lull that lured out the jet dryers, but they were chased away by a downpour that resumed the day of rain.
This is NASCAR’s fifth race this year which has been affected by rain. The Pocono race was shortened by rain and the races at Dover, Richmond, and Darlington all were postponed due to rain.
But it may get worse. The weather forecast for Tuesday in the Brooklyn, Michigan area is much like that for Sunday – raising the possibility that the race may not run on Monday, either. Not since the 1997 Talladega race has a Cup race been twice postponed due to rain.
This is a bad time for this to hit the Cup teams, because they were already a day short in their time to prepare for the next race. The next race is the fabled night race at Bristol, which is run this coming Saturday.
Though remote, there is a possibility that the race might have to be postponed to a date later in the season. According to NASCAR, the Chase for the Championship participants are determined by standings after the 26th race. If the Michigan race cannot be run this week, it would be postponed until after Thanksgiving, meaning it would be a Chase race, rather than upcoming Richmond race, and that the Chase drivers would be determined by the New Hampshire race.
In light of that, expect NASCAR to do almost anything to get the race at Michigan in on Monday, including starting it with the expectation that it may be rain shortened. A Cup race is officially a race after the half-way mark.