March 16, 2014 — Randy Sartin, USA TODAY Sports photo — BRISTOL, TN — The start of today’s Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is being delayed by rain.
“At this time, the NASCAR Sprint Cup pre-race and Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway are on hold due to weather,” BMS general manager Jerry Caldwell said in a statement on Sunday. “There appears to be a mid- to late-afternoon window and we are hopeful to begin drying the track at that time for the running of the event.”
After a sun-drenched Saturday, inclement weather moved into the Northeast Tennessee region Sunday morning just after 10 a.m. ET. According to the National Weather Service, rain is expected to remain in the area throughout much of the day with temperatures reaching only the high 40s. The chance of rain, according to the NWS, falls to 50 percent after 5 p.m. BMS does have lights, so racing into the night would not be an issue.
Early Sunday, NASCAR officials announced the start of the race had been moved from 1:13 p.m. ET to 1:01 p.m. They also announced a competition caution would be shown after 50 laps to allow teams the opportunity to check tire wear.
On Saturday, Caldwell issued a statement saying NASCAR and track officials would make every attempt to get the race completed as scheduled. If that is not possible, he said, then the race would be run on Monday, beginning at Noon ET.
Former Bristol race winner Denny Hamlin will start on the pole with 2012 series champion Brad Keselowskialongside.
Points leader and Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. rolls off 14th.