Wet track forces cancellation of Saturday Cup practices

Despite NASCAR's best track-drying efforts at Texas Motor Speedway, Saturday's first Sprint Cup practice was cancelled.

Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

Saturday’s two scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice sessions were cancelled after rains overnight and into the morning left the racing surface at Texas Motor Speedway very damp.

Air Titans and jet dryers worked on the racing surface for hours, but cool temperatures hampered the track-drying efforts.

Along with the morning’s first practice, the wet track conditions also cancelled XFINITY Series qualifying.

While the sun was out and turned into a nice day, the porous racing surface made it difficult to dry the track. NASCAR deployed Air Titans, jet dryers, leaf blowers, drilled holes in the track, and even broke out a shop-vac to help the drying efforts, to no avail.

Eventually the track was deemed dry enough to run the XFINITY Series race, although the start of the race was delayed from its scheduled start of 3:30 p.m. ET. NASCAR added a competition caution at Lap 25 for the XFINITY race and allowed the teams to use a seventh set of Goodyear Racing tires.

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The hope was to get two Sprint Cup Series practice sessions in on Saturday. Even with the track not drying properly, many crew chiefs hoped they would be able to hold a final practice under the lights once the XFINITY Series race ended.

Instead, NASCAR officials decided to cancel all Cup practices for the day, which left crew chiefs scrambling to make a new game plan for Sunday’s race.

Pole-sitter Brad Keselowski spent Friday’s practice session in qualifying trim, and crew chief Paul Wolfe said they would have to fall back on simulation data and information they learned from the April race at Texas.

“Obviously it will be a challenge,” Wolfe told FOXSports.com. “Hopefully we’ll find out how good our simulation is, I guess. We’ll have to just rely on our notes from the spring, and we had a top-five car in the spring.

"So at least we have some good notes to fall back on. Obviously some things have changed since then, so we’ll have to take that all into account. Overall I feel confident about it. We’ve got a great group of guys around me and typically on a weekend we unload one of the best cars.”