Rejected headlines for this article include Rain Delay 3: The Delayening, Delaytona USA, Literal Days of Thunder, Rain Rain Biyori Repeat, That One Rainy Day Episode of K-On!! but with Race Cars, A Weathering with You Sequel, Torrential Downpour Touches Down on Texas Day (Again), Jet Dryers Provide More Action in Texas Sports This Week than the Dallas Cowboys, Someone Tell the Lightning They Play in Florida and Not Texas, Sierra Mist Stocks Take a Nosedive, and Mother Nature, Please Comply for Once So We Don’t Have to Deal with This Author’s Terrible Weather-Related Titles.
For the third time in as many days, the NASCAR Cup Series‘ Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway was postponed due to weather. In a repeat of events from Monday, track drying crews hit the 1.5-mile course with the hope of getting the surface ready to complete the event, which had been paused on Sunday after 53 laps due to weather.
Unfortunately, it was a literal rinse and repeat as mist once again put a literal damper on those plans, quickly forcing NASCAR to shoot down its originally-scheduled noon start. On various occasions throughout the day, progress was made only for the weather to return and force the crews back to square one. So much jet fuel was used to power the jet dryers that it ran out, and even the fuel truck itself required refueling.
“Who would’ve ever thought that @NASCAR could burn more jet fuel in 2 days than @SouthwestAir,” race leader Clint Bowyer quipped on Twitter.
At over two days and counting, Bowyer is already in the pantheon of longest time spent in the lead by the clock, though he has a ways to go before catching Cale Yarborough‘s 1973 Southeastern 500 lead at Bristol. Yarborough, a 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, led all 500 laps from the pole, though the first 52 came in March while the rest was run two weeks later after rain hit the track.
Yarborough remarked after the win, “This is the longest I’ve ever led a race. I held the lead in this one for two weeks.”
He was involved in another long delay a decade later with the 1983 Warner W. Hodgdon Carolina 500 at Rockingham, where he was the leader when the race was paused on lap 142 and held the position for a week until it resumed.
The delay was so long that Bowyer’s Stewart-Haas Racing team decided to unveil his paint scheme for next Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville. The design, created by Bowyer, serves as his gesture of appreciation for the fans and sponsors as he prepares for his final races as a driver; the decklid also features every sponsor throughout his racing career.
Other teams like Gaunt Brothers Racing and Jonathan Byrd’s Racing (in collaboration with Rick Ware Racing) also unveiled Martinsville liveries for their respective drivers Daniel Suárez and James Davison. Suárez is currently thirty-second in the Autotrader 500, while Garrett Smithley (driving the #53 that Davison will take over at Martinsville is thirtieth.
Assuming the weather holds up, the rescheduled Autotrader 500 will now resume at 3 PM Eastern. Interestingly, it will not be the first Wednesday Cup race of 2020: due to COVID-19, NASCAR organised various weekday races to make up the rounds lost by the pandemic, including the Toyota 500 at Darlington (incidentally shortened by rain), the ultimately-delayed-to-Thursday-because-of-rain Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte, and the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville.