Feb 24, 2008
FONTANA, Calif. -- The race started three hours late because of heavy overnight and morning showers, and even then was delayed when Michael Waltrip's car began spewing oil during the parade lap. Then water -- standing and falling -- played a key role in a pair of red flags before the race reached the 100-lap mark.
After two accidents in the first 21 laps, both appearing to be the results of water seeping up through cracks in the track surface, NASCAR officials stopped the race and spent 67 minutes working to resolve the issue. Six laps later, Casey Mears lost control coming out of Turn 2, spun back in front of traffic, was clipped by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and then lifted and turned upside down by Sam Hornish Jr.'s car. Reed Sorenson also suffered damage in the incident. At that point, NASCAR officials halted the event and sent track crews to cut vertical stripes in the offending areas, hoping to create channels for the water to dissipate.
With that issue apparently settled for the time being, light precipitation brought out under caution at Lap 41.
But it was another stray shower that pelted the track after 87 laps, forcing the cars back onto pit road, where they were covered. While crews huddled under cover, shivering in the cool, damp, decidedly un-California-like weather, the jet dryers once again went to work.
However, the dewpoint and humidity worked against efforts to make the track suitable to continue the race -- and in the end, or 2 a.m. ET, officials were forced to concede, at least for now. So the Auto Club 500 will resume Monday at 1 p.m. ET, with the Nationwide Series Stater Bros. 300 -- postponed from Saturday night -- to follow.
Jimmie Johnson is leading, followed by Travis Kvapil, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne. Jeff Gordon, currently sixth, dominated much of the early going, leading five times for 57 laps. Forty-one of the 43 starters were still running, including Sorenson, Earnhardt and Hamlin, all down several laps to the leaders.
Feb 22, 2008
FONTANA, Calif. -- After a day-long effort to dry the track, a mid-afternoon downpour finally forced NASCAR officials to cancel the entire day's activities. That meant no Sprint Cup qualifying, as five cars were sent packing without making a lap. Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series qualifying were also wiped out.
The field for Sunday's Auto Club 500 was set by the NASCAR rulebook. That puts Hendrick teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon on the front row, while A.J. Allmendinger, Ken Schrader, Patrick Carpentier, Mike Skinner and Burney Lamar failed to make the field.