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Bristol start delayed by rain

The SportsXchange

BRISTOL, Ten. -- The Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is being delayed by rain. The race was originally scheduled to get underway at approximately 1 p.m. ET Sunday.

With the chance of rain for Sunday at 100 percent, a Monday start time of noon was set on Saturday evening. But NASCAR hopes to be able to get the race in sometime on Sunday.

"By now nearly everyone has seen Sunday's weather forecast and expressed questions regarding plans," Bristol Motor Speedway general manager Jerry Caldwell said Saturday. "NASCAR has a nearly 70-year history of working with tracks to get races in on the scheduled date.

"In Bristol Motor Speedway, we have a track that dries in less than an hour, equipment here to do it and lights that allow us to go well into the evening. We are very hopeful and fully intend to run the Food City 500 (today). If by chance that does not happen, we are prepared to race Monday at noon. But that is a backup plan we hope to not need."

There is a window predicted for late Sunday afternoon, during which NASCAR hopes to run at least part of the 500-lap scheduled distance. If the race takes the green flag sometime on Sunday, every effort will be made by NASCAR to run all 500 laps.

The race will be considered official and a winner declared if at least half the distance, or 250 or more laps, are completed. If the race doesn't go to halfway, it will resume on Monday.

"There appears to be a mid to late-afternoon window, and we are hopeful to begin trying the track at that time for the running of the event," Caldwell said just prior to Sunday's original schedule start time.

Five-time Bristol winner in Sprint Cup competition, Kyle Busch, isn't optimistic about the chance of racing on Sunday.

"I don't think it looks very good," Busch said. "I think it may be a wash today."

Jeff Gordon, meanwhile, thinks there's a chance at least some of the laps may be made on Sunday.

"I wasn't every optimistic about getting the race in today last night when I went to bed and when I got up this morning, but seeing the radar recently, I'm pretty optimistic," Gordon said.

Rain is also predicted for Monday, but chances of rain decrease as the day goes on.

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