NASCAR: Texas race features longest weather delay since 1973

NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

The red flag period at Texas Motor Speedway was the longest for a NASCAR Cup Series race since the 1973 season at Bristol Motor Speedway.

As much as weather has played a role in determining when NASCAR Cup Series races have actually happened this year, particularly in the spring, the postponement of Sunday’s round of 8 playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway was actually quite a rare occurrence.

Through 34 races of this crazy 36-race 2020 season, this race was only the fourth to be postponed to a new day as a result of bad weather.

The season opener at Daytona International Speedway was started on Sunday, February 16 and then finished on Monday, February 17 due to rain, and the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway which was scheduled for Wednesday, May 27 was moved to Thursday, May 28 for the same reason.

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The race at Talladega which was scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 21 took place on Monday, June 22.

It is even more rare to have a race postponed multiple days due to weather, and Sunday’s race was postponed not once, not twice, but three times.

The race went green on Sunday, but the red flag that flew after 52 laps had been contested around the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) oval in Fort Worth, Texas ended up lasting for more than three whole days.

The race did not get back underway on Sunday, and there was no possible window to run it on Monday or Tuesday, either. So after a red flag period of 72 hours, 28 minutes and 34 seconds, the race went back green on Wednesday evening.

It marked the longest red flag period in over 47 years.

On Sunday, March 11, 1973, Bristol Motor Speedway was scheduled to host a race, and the race did end up going green. But bad weather caused the red flag to fly, and the race did not conclude until two weeks later on Sunday, March 25.

Of course, this was a bit different; everybody left the track and another race ended up being run at Rockingham Speedway the following Sunday, March 18, whereas this week’s red flag was a straight-up delay. But just as this week’s race did, the race at Bristol Motor Speedway did eventually pick up where it left off.

Ironically, both that 1973 race and this week’s race were red flagged after 52 laps.

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In terms of Texas Motor Speedway history, however, this red flag is nowhere near being the longest. IndyCar saw a red flag over nearly 11 weeks for a race back in 2016. This race, which was initially scheduled for Saturday, June 11, got underway on Sunday, June 12 after a postponement due to rain, but it was red flagged for rain after 71 laps. After five races were contested elsewhere, the race finally concluded on Saturday, August 27.