Over two months and two weeks since the last NASCAR Xfinity Series race, the field was prepared to hit the track at Darlington Raceway on Tuesday. Mother Nature had other plans.
The Toyota 200, which was scheduled to be the first Xfinity race since the season restarted with the Cup Series on Sunday, has been postponed to Thursday at noon (Eastern) due to rain. Despite efforts to dry the track, the weather failed to cooperate throughout the afternoon.
The rain also produces concerns for the Cup Series, whose Toyota 500 at the track is planned for Wednesday night. According to forecasts in Darlington, South Carolina from The Weather Channel, thunderstorms may be expected on Wednesday and Thursday, with 90 and 80 percent chances of rain on those respective days. The likelihood drops to 20 percent on Friday.
Although a possible Thursday or Friday doubleheader is fairly close to the upcoming Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, RotoGrinders podcast host Stephen Young tweeted that NASCAR is “okay with racing Thursday or Friday and the teams agreed.”
If the Cup race also falls victim to the weather, it will be moved to Thursday night at 7 PM.
Noah Gragson, who won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, is set to start the Toyota 200 on the pole alongside JR Motorsports team-mate Michael Annett; the field was conducted via random draw. Another notable face in the grid is reigning Cup champion Kyle Busch, who intends to run all seven races in the eleven-day gauntlet initially laid out to resume the season, in twenty-sixth. Kody Vanderwal and Joe Graf Jr. will start from the rear due to unapproved adjustments.
As practice and qualifying are not being held for much of the remaining rounds in May, the race will also be the first time various drivers, including rookies Riley Herbst, Jesse Little, and points leader Harrison Burton, have run laps at Darlington. This caveat has also prompted NASCAR to expand the field for Xfinity and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races to 40 drivers apiece for events without qualifying.
Like Sunday’s The Real Heroes 500, the Xfinity race and all events in the foreseeable future will be held without fans.