NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Cup Series

Washout Saturday results in NASCAR doubleheader Sunday at Fontana

Updated Feb. 25, 2023 7:58 p.m. ET

FONTANA, Calif. — NASCAR scrapped all activity scheduled for Saturday at Auto Club Speedway as heavy rains pelted the 2-mile oval.

Both the Xfinity Series and Cup Series drivers will race Sunday with no practice — something a few years ago would cause grave concern, but after that was the typical format in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19, the teams should take it in stride.

The Cup race is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday on FOX. The Xfinity Series race, originally scheduled for Saturday, will run after the Cup race at approximately 8 p.m. ET on FS2.

NASCAR did its best to try to get the Xfinity Series race in Saturday afternoon, but after getting the track mostly dry and the cars on the track for pace laps, rain pelted the track again shortly after 3 p.m. PT. It took about three hours to dry the track, which has not been paved since it opened 25 years ago and is one of the most difficult to dry. Weepers — water seeping up through the pores and seams in the surface — are common at this track and at times have forced NASCAR to postpone events despite several hours of no rain. NASCAR has 20 vehicles — jet driers, water blowers, sweepers, vacuums, etc. — at the track to dry the surface.

FOX Weather forecasts a 20 percent chance of rain Sunday. Temperatures will be in the mid-40s. 

If any race doesn’t get in on Sunday, NASCAR would try to race Monday, likely hoping to start mid-morning in California.

A NASCAR race is considered official if it gets to the halfway point or the end of Stage 2, whichever is earlier, and then can’t continue because of weather, darkness or other factors. For Cup, that would be 100 of the 200 scheduled laps. For Xfinity, it would be 70 of the scheduled 150 laps because Stage 2 ends on Lap 70.

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NASCAR set the lineup for the races based on the metric it uses to set qualifying order and used to set the lineup during the pandemic. The formula is 35 percent owner points ranking, 25 percent driver finish of the previous race, 25 percent owner finish of the previous race and 15 percent driver fastest lap ranking in the previous race. 

Christopher Bell will be on the pole for Cup while Daytona 500 winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will join him on the front row.

This is the last race on the track’s 2-mile oval. Public records show NASCAR has sold 433 acres for an estimated $544 million (based on the taxes shown in the public documents) to a real estate development company. NASCAR would keep 90 acres to convert the facility into a half-mile track with 35,000 grandstand seats. About 98 acres of the proposed commerce center (buildings to be used as warehouses for e-commerce companies) would be available for parking.

Rain falling in Fontana

The NASCAR Cup Series garage opened to rain at the Auto Club Speedway.

NASCAR already has announced it won’t race at the track in 2024 as it begins converting to the short track. A firm construction timeline has not been set. 

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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