Auto race at Fontana postponed by rain
FONTANA, Calif. – NASCAR postponed the Xfinity Series race at Fontana to Sunday night because of steady rain at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday.
Practice and qualifying sessions for both weekend races at Fontana had already been canceled because of consistent, heavy rain from an extraordinary Southern California storm.
The Xfinity drivers still went through their introductions, got into their cars and took pace laps during a short break in the weather, but rain began to fall again during the warmup. Track officials used jet driers in an attempt to improve the surface, but the task quickly became impossible.
Drivers laughed when they saw their breath freeze while they took their pace laps, and they audibly worried about the steadily increasing rain until NASCAR redflagged them shortly before the start. The cars were parked in pit lane under their rain covers for almost an hour before NASCAR finally gave up on racing roughly 2 1/2 hours after the scheduled start time with the temperature at 41 degrees.
The Xfinity race will now take place after the Cup Series race Sunday, with an expected local start time of 5 p.m.
Both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series drivers will have to race without practice on the track east of Los Angeles, with the starting orders determined by the metric used to set the qualifying order.
Christopher Bell will be on the pole for Sunday’s Cup race, with Daytona 500 champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joining him on the front row.
This is the final race weekend on the famously weathered asphalt of the 2-mile track at Auto Club Speedway. A halfmile track is expected to be built on the site over the next two years, which means NASCAR won’t race in Southern California next year.