Rain pushes Xfinity Series race to Sunday start at Auto Club Speedway
FONTANA, Calif. — Heavy rain and a freak California snowstorm forced postponement of Saturday‘s Production Alliance Group 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway until Sunday night.
Rescheduled for 8 p.m. ET, the race will follow the Pala Casino 400 NASCAR Cup Series race as the second leg of a Sunday doubleheader. The Production Alliance Group 300 will be broadcast on FS2, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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A mid-afternoon lull in the rain allowed driver introductions and opening ceremonies to be completed. After the command to start engines, the Xfinity Series cars took pace laps, but the rain returned, and NASCAR officials brought the cars to pit road.
Continued rain forced NASCAR to announce the postponement at 7:06 p.m. ET.
Qualifying for both races was canceled early Saturday morning as rain pelted the 2-mile track and then turned to snow in the late morning. After snowfall that lasted approximately one hour, the rain returned.
Because of the qualifying rainouts, the fields for both races have been set according to the rule book using a metric that combines owner points rank, finish in the previous race and rank of the fastest lap in the previous race.
Christopher Bell will start from the pole position in Sunday‘s Cup race (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM), with Daytona 500 winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. beside him. Conversely, adverse circumstances in last Sunday‘s DAYTONA 500 have relegated the cars of Chase Briscoe, William Byron, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones and Tyler Reddick to positions 31 through 35, respectively.
Only once in 32 previous Cup races at Fontana has a driver won from deeper in the field than 25th on the grid. Matt Kenseth won from the 31st starting position in 2006, when the race was scheduled for 500 miles.
The top two finishers from last Saturday‘s Xfinity Series season opener will start from the front row in Sunday evening’s race, with Austin Hill on the pole and Daytona runner-up John Hunter Nemechek beside him.
Double-duty drivers Austin Dillon, Reddick and Ross Chastain will start 15th, 24th and 38th, respectively. The 300-mile event is the second of 33 events for the Xfinity Series this season.
Contributing: Staff reports