Rain cancels Sprint Cup qualifying at Dover, setting field on points

Rain forced NASCAR to call off all scheduled on-track activities for Friday at Dover.

Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series settles into Dover International Speedway for this weekend’s AAA 400, Hurricane Joaquin continues to churn off the coast of the Bahamas and cause major issues.

Rain and cold wind pelted Dover Friday morning, with no break in the weather expected throughout the day. Despite the wet weather, teams were still hard at work in the Sprint Cup garage preparing for the weekend’s events. However, by 10:40 a.m. ET NASCAR officially cancelled all on-track activity for Friday at Dover.

The weather eliminated Sprint Cup Series practice and qualifying, XFINITY Series practice and the K&N Pro Series East race which has been rescheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday, weather permitting.

Per the NASCAR rule book, the field for Sunday’s AAA 400 will be set according to points, meaning Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth will start from the pole with teammate Denny Hamlin also on the front row.

Despite the automatic front-row starting spot, Kenseth would like to get some track time at some point before Sunday’s race.

“I think we all would have liked to get on the track today and get some practice,” Kenseth said. “I know there are some things we wanted to work on and try to improve from the spring for this race. I think everybody wanted to get on the track. I think it’s one of the advantages of leading the points — obviously, if it rains you get a good starting spot and pit stall. Glad we’re starting in the front, but still would have liked the track time.” 

According to weather.com, Friday’s forecast called for a 100 percent chance of precipitation, while the forecast for Saturday and Sunday has improved slightly. With meteorologists predicting Hurricane Joaquin will now push out into the Atlantic Ocean, there is hope to get the race in on time this weekend.

The National Hurricane Center issued a statement Friday morning saying, "The models continue to indicate a track offshore," with "the threat of direct impacts" from Joaquin on the East Coast decreasing.

Starting lineup for AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway

The track and NASCAR continue to monitor the situation throughout the weekend.

"We continue to work closely with NASCAR, the National Weather Service and our on-site meteorologist to monitor the weather,” Dover International Speedway said in a statement Friday. "We are currently tracking this weekend’s weather and will update fans via social media, and our website, as information becomes available.”

While the weather throws a kink in the plans for on-track activity, teams knew the forecast ahead of time and planned accordingly.

"This weather, we saw it coming," Team Penske’s Joey Logano said Friday at Dover. "It actually looks like the weather is getting better throughout the weekend than what we thought it would be, so it looks like there is a chance we’ll actually get on the racetrack."