The NASCAR Cup Series completed 52 of the scheduled 334 laps of the AutoTrader EchoPark 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday before the race was red flag for a persistent mist that caused wet track conditions and fog. When the mist continued to interfere with attempts to dry the track for several hours, NASCAR officials made the call to resume attempts to return to racing at 9 a.m. local time [10 a.m. ET] Monday.
Monday’s weather forecast includes a 90 to 100 percent chance of rain.
The third caution of the race on lap 43 was for the weather conditions, but drivers began reporting a wet race track several laps earlier. Kevin Harvick blamed wet conditions when he hit the wall while leading the race. He made and unscheduled pit stop on lap 34 as a result of the contact and was in 36th position, a lap down, when the race was red-flagged.
“It just went straight. Unfortunately, we were the first one to the damp PJ1 [traction compound],” Harvick told the Performance Racing Network. “That’s the downside to it. Once it’s wet, it’s like ice. I couldn’t get out of the gas and couldn’t do anything but go straight. It had okay speed still, so work on it and figure it out”
Harvick started the race on the pole and led until he slid into the wall.
Denny Hamlin also nearly wrecked in the same area as Harvick. Hamlin, though, managed to avoid contact and got back up to the top-20 by the time the race was stopped.
Alex Bowman inherited the lead when Harvick had his problem. But pit stops were completed under caution before the red flag, and Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Erik Jones were the top-three out of the pits to restart in those positions when the race resumes.
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