MARTINSVILLE, Va. — NASCAR's bad weather
luck at Martinsville Speedway reared its head again Sunday as rain
forced the postponement of the Sprint Cup race until Monday at noon.
It is the second year in a row that rain pushed
an event into the work week at the track in southwest Virginia. Last
spring, the truck series event had to be run on Monday.
Rain also has washed out Sprint Cup qualifying
for the past three spring races, putting points leader Kevin Harvick on
the pole for the race. Harvick will be seeking a weekend sweep after
dominating the truck race that was run in sunshine and ideal conditions
Many drivers traded their ball caps for knit
caps and wore heavy coats for driver introductions Sunday, which were
conducted under heavy cloud cover and in a steady rain.
"It stinks for the fans and all the teams, but
the fortunate thing is we've got an off week coming up, so it's not like
this is going to put everybody way behind," said A.J. Allmendinger, who
will start 21st.
NASCAR's premier series is taking its
traditional break of the season for Easter next weekend.
The Monday race will be the first in the Sprint
Cup Series since last August at Watkins Glen, N.Y. It will be the first
Cup race on a Monday in Martinsville since the fall of 2001.
The absence of lights for night racing at the
0.526-mile oval meant the window for racing was already small
considering the time it would take to dry the track if the rain stopped.
NASCAR does not allow a race to start unless
it's feasible for the entire event to be run, and races at Martinsville
take up to four hours to complete.
The call to postpone was made about 90 minutes
after the scheduled 1 p.m. start.
The postponement also will push back Denny
Hamlin's plans to have arthroscopic surgery on Monday to repair a torn
anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He still hopes to have the
procedure this week so he'll have time to recover before the next race
on April 10.