Rain places Sunday's Cup Series start at Richmond on wet-weather tires

RICHMOND, Va. — The start of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway featured wet-weather tires due to damp conditions.

The Toyota Owners 400 was scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET start, broadcast on FOX, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. But rain showers lingered around the 0.75-mile track, delaying the start of the seventh of 36 points-paying Cup Series races this season. Goodyear’s wet-weather tires helped NASCAR hit the track sooner than usual, however, with its rubber featuring treads to help shed water from the racing surface, along with defoggers placed inside the car to eliminate windshield condensation.

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Kyle Larson’s No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet led the field from the No. 1 starting position, a spot earned with a fast lap of 120.332 mph in Saturday’s Busch Light Pole qualifying. He was flanked on the front row by teammate Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Chevy.

Per the NASCAR Rule Book, if the Series Managing Director declares wet-weather conditions prior to race start, all vehicles must make a tire configuration change and will retain their original starting positions. As the track dried out under green-flag conditions, NASCAR officials called a competition caution at Lap 30 for teams to perform non-competitive pit stops and change back to traditional slick racing tires. Because the stops were not competitive, the running order was not impacted by the speed of the stops.

Ross Chastain\
Ross Chastain\

Competition officials have a fleet of track-drying equipment available this weekend — six Toyota Tundra dryers, three jet dryers, one vacuum truck and one sweeper.

The 400-lap, 300-mile race is the first of two stops for the Cup Series at Richmond Raceway this year. The circuit returns for the Cook Out 400 weekend Aug. 10-11, with the Craftsman Truck Series’ Clean Harbors 250 as a companion event.