News & Media

Rain postpones Watkins Glen race to Monday

August 14, 2011, David Caraviello,

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- A day that was supposed to conclude with showers of confetti and champagne in Victory Lane instead came to a premature end because of showers of another kind -- rain, which forced the postponement of Sunday's Sprint Cup event at the Watkins Glen International road course.

Persistent rain moved in during pre-race ceremonies and lingered long enough that NASCAR officials had to move the event to 10 a.m. EDT Monday. A brief window of lighter drizzle Sunday provided a little hope, and prompted race control to fire up the track's eight jet dryers and roll them back out on the 2.45-mile layout. But heavier showers moved in soon afterward, and the decision to postpone was made at about 4:30 p.m. local time, more than three hours after the event was slated to begin.

"You can't fight the weather, so I just worry about stuff you can control."


Monday's rescheduled race will be televised on ESPN. Sunday marked the second time in the past three years that Watkins Glen has had a race pushed to the next day because of rain.

"Of course, you'd like to be racing right now, but this is part of it and this is the way it works," said A.J. Allmendinger, who qualified second for the event. "There have been times when it rained and because of that I didn't get a chance to race or qualify, so I know we've got a fast car, and when we drop the green we'll get there."

NASCAR knew the weather was coming Sunday, and even moved up the scheduled start time by a few minutes to try to get the race underway before wet weather moved in. They came tantalizingly close -- drops began to sprinkle during the singing of the national anthem, and soon afterward competitors were scrambling for their motorhomes or opening umbrellas. A few hardy souls in the grandstands huddled under ponchos, hoping in vain that the weather would clear for good.

"You can't fight the weather, so I just worry about stuff you can control," said Marcos Ambrose, slated to start third. "I've got the kids here with me, so I'm going to play with them a little bit and chill out. There's not much you can do -- just use the time to play a bit of PlayStation, play with the kids, and have something to eat."

Unfortunately, the weather outlook for Monday doesn't appear much better. Forecasts for the Watkins Glen area call for a 60 percent chance of more rain, primarily in the morning, with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Sunday, though, all anyone could do was wait and watch the raindrops fall.

"The cover is on the car, and it's ready to go," Ambrose said. "There's nothing you can do until the sun comes back out."