NASCAR changes Chicago schedule due to weather

John Hunter Nemechek, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR, Chicago Street Course (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
John Hunter Nemechek, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR, Chicago Street Course (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

NASCAR postponed the remainder of the inaugural Xfinity Series race at the new Chicago Street Course to Sunday as a result of Saturday lightning.

The first ever NASCAR race winner at the new Chicago Street Course was set to be crowned on Saturday, but the Loop 121 Xfinity Series race was unable to be completed as a result of repeated lightning strikes in the area.

While the 30-minute lightning hold was finally lifted after several resets, and NASCAR had hoped to resume the race, the facility needed to be evacuated and NASCAR had no intention of finishing the event without fans in the stands.

This, plus the fact that there was the potential for more lightning throughout the rest of the evening, led to the decision to push the remainder of the race back to Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. ET, ahead of the 100-lap Grant Park 220 Cup Series race.

The Loop 121 was scheduled to be a 55-lap race around the 12-turn, 2.2-mile (3.541-kilometer) temporary street circuit in Chicago, Illinois.

NASCAR rules state that a race must reach the earlier of the halfway point or the end of stage two to be considered official.

Stage two was due to end after lap 30, meaning that at least 28 laps (halfway) needed to be completed on Saturday in order for the race to be deemed official. Saturday’s race came up three laps shy of reaching that mark, with Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer in the lead. The goal for Sunday remains to run all 55 laps.

According to The Weather Channel, there is a 70% chance of rain on Sunday, but wet weather tires are available to teams.

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Tune in to USA Network at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 2 for the live broadcast of the remainder of the Loop 121 from the Chicago Street Course.

Sunday’s Cup Series race, the Grant Park 220, is set to be broadcast live on NBC starting at 5:00 p.m. ET, with its official start time having just been moved up from 5:54 p.m. ET to 5:05 p.m. ET. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss either event!