Brian Lawdermilk | Getty Images
Brian Lawdermilk | Getty Images

Weather causes schedule changes; Cup qualifying canceled, Saturday practice added

Persistent rain showers and brief bouts of lightning in the area jumbled Friday’s on-track schedule at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Saturday was impacted, too.

Both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practices, NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series qualifying and NASCAR Xfinity Series final practice were canceled due to weather on the opening day of championship weekend. NASCAR later announced that Saturday’s Monster Energy Series qualifying was canceled in favor of adding one of the missed practices back to the schedule.

The starting lineup for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 will be set by the rule book, meaning owner points — Denny Hamlin will start from the pole position, with Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch lined up behind him in spots 2-4. All drivers are part of the Championship 4 field. All points for the four title hopefuls were reset to 5,000 for this race, with the tiebreaker being best finish of the Round of 8 — and then second-best finish as necessary.

That practice is scheduled from 2:05-2:55 p.m. ET, sandwiched between NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying and the Ford EcoBoost 300 title race in that series.

MORE: Cup lineup | Weekend schedule

Earlier Friday, the first Monster Energy Series practice session of championship weekend was slated to begin at 3:35 p.m. ET, but wet weather forced other plans. Moments before the planned start time, NASCAR officials warned there had been a lightning strike in the area. That sparked the first cancellation. Rain later stopped, and the track began its drying process — only for it to start back up again. The second and final Monster Energy Series practice was slated for 6:30 p.m. ET and was ultimately called around 7:15 p.m. ET.

Increased rain made practices, Gander Trucks qualifying (slated for 4:35 p.m. ET) and Xfinity Series final practice (slated for 5:35 p.m. ET) all washouts. Rain had started earlier in the afternoon, starting less than 15 minutes after opening NASCAR Xfinity Series practice began at 2:35 p.m. ET.

The Gander Trucks championship race is slated for 8 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and the lineup was determined by owner points. Championship 4 driver Stewart Friesen will start from the pole position, with Ross Chastain lining up third, Brett Moffitt fourth and Matt Crafton ninth.