TALLADEGA, Ala. — NASCAR canceled all
Saturday track activity at Talladega Superspeedway because of threats
of extended periods of severe weather.
Track officials said the decision was made on
advice from the Talladega County Emergency Management Agency and the
National Weather Service, which said Talladega County was one of the
areas in Alabama facing a high risk of severe thunderstorms and
tornadoes on Saturday.
"Fans are strongly encouraged to take
necessary precautions to ensure their safety, especially those guests
camping on speedway property," track officials said.
The Nationwide Series race scheduled for
Saturday will now be held Sunday following the Sprint Cup Series race.
It's the second consecutive weekend that NASCAR will attempt a
Rain last weekend in Texas washed out both Cup
and Nationwide events, and they were run back-to-back on Monday.
Drivers who competed in both series totaled 801 miles of racing.
There are 10 drivers scheduled to run both of
Sunday's races, which are scheduled to total 811.30 miles barring any
additional "overtime" laps.
Qualifying for Talladega's Cup race was
canceled, and the field for Sunday's race will be set by owner points.
Four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson will lead Matt Kenseth and
Greg Biffle to the green flag.
With the new schedule set, officials turned their attention to safety.
Fans camping on the sprawling speedway grounds
were encouraged to dismantle their tents and seek more stable shelter.
Most drivers and crew chiefs are also on property in their private
motorhomes located just aside the garage. Security was going
motorhome-to-motorhome to advise competitors of areas inside the track
where they could seek shelter.
At least one driver, Denny Hamlin, left the
property. Hamlin posted on his Twitter page he was headed back to
Charlotte, N.C., to catch Game 3 in the NBA playoff series between the
Bobcats and Orlando Magic.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., still on the clock as he
and Jamie McMurray helped Daytona International Speedway announce a
repaving project set to begin in July, said he didn't know what he'd do
during the storms — particularly if there's a tornado.
"I was gonna ask for advice about the best
plan," Earnhardt said. "I ain't got my plan together yet. I'll look up
in the sky a lot, I reckon."
All tickets for either race will be honored
Sunday, with seat priority given to those with tickets to the Cup race.
Fans with tickets to the Nationwide event will be directed to the
nearest open seat.
The Sprint Cup race will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern, as scheduled, and the Nationwide Series race will follow.
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