NASCAR Cup Series drivers headed to Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 playoff race. They only completed 52 laps, however, due to a wet track. NASCAR postponed the race until Monday morning, but now it is currently in another delay.
Racing's sanctioning body decided to postpone the race on Sunday evening, ending hours of questions for the drivers and the fans. Persistent mist caused several issues and made the racing surface slick and dangerous. NASCAR then set a new time of 10 a.m. ET on Monday morning, but the cold weather and rain continued. These issues led to another delay as drivers waited to learn when they would have to suit up.
Stay tuned to NBCSN for further updates. pic.twitter.com/7CP4QTeRhF— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 26, 2020
At the time of the postponement, Clint Bowyer held the lead in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang. Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five. Kevin Harvick, the man that secured the pole position, collided with the wall and suffered minor damage. Similarly, Denny Hamlin washed up outside of the racing groove and fell several spots in the running order. When NASCAR red-flagged the race, Harvick sat in 36th while Hamlin was 15th.
According to the weather forecast at Texas Motor Speedway, there is a chance that the race won't take place on Monday. The current outlook predicts ongoing light rain all day long and into early Tuesday morning. Similarly, the temperature will not top 50 degrees throughout the day.
The Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 is only one of two remaining races before the final cut drops the field to four drivers. Joey Logano has secured his spot in the championship race in Phoenix with a win, but the seven other drivers are currently fighting for the final three spots. Harvick, Hamlin and Brad Keselowski currently sit above the cutoff line, but none are safe due to the limited number of points.
On the other hand, Truex faces an even bigger obstacle due to a penalty prior to Sunday's race. The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team violated a NASCAR rule, resulting in the confiscation of the car's spoiler. The team violated section 20.4.12.b in the NASCAR Rule Book states that: "except as specified, spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer."
The No. 19 team violated this rule and received significant punishment in the form of a $35,000 fine, the loss of 20 driver and owner points, and the ejection of crew chief James Small for the race. Car chief Blake Harris will replace him during the rescheduled race. Truex had to move to the back of the pack for the pace laps in addition to the fines.