NASCAR & Auto Racing

Rain washes out Cup race

BROOKLYN, Mich. – The 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway was rained out Sunday. That's about the only simple thing that can be said about the impact weather could have on NASCAR's top series.

The race was rescheduled for noon today (ESPN2), but the forecast is dismal. One online forecast put the rain chance at 80 percent at noon and 100 percent at 3 p.m.

NASCAR has never run a Cup race on a Tuesday after postponements on two previous days. The last time a race was rained out two straight days was on a Sunday and Monday in 1997 at Talladega, Ala. That race was moved several weeks later.

But there are no open weekends left on this year's Nextel Cup schedule.

"First, we will do everything we can to get the race in" today, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. "Beyond that, we would look at Tuesday, and possibly at Wednesday."

Beyond that?

"If the race can't be completed this week," he said, pausing, "the race would be moved to Thanksgiving week, probably that Friday."

That would be Nov. 23, in Michigan -- albeit southern Michigan.

"And," Poston said, "according to the rulebook, the Chase field is comprised of the top 12 after the first 26 events and the Chase is comprised of the final 10 races."

That would make New Hampshire on Sept. 16, not Sept. 8 at Richmond, Va., the 26th race and the cutoff for the Chase.

A rescheduled Michigan race would be the 10th race in the Chase, supplanting Homestead-Miami Speedway as the season finale.

Tuesday's forecast for this area, however, is somewhat more promising.

There were a few developments unrelated to weather.

 Ricky Rudd confirmed he has told team owner Robert Yates he will not return as a full-time Cup driver in 2008. Rudd left full-time competition after the 2005 season, then returned to drive the No. 88 Ford for Yates this year.

Rudd said he's glad he came back because he believes this season will eliminate any second-guessing he might have had. He wouldn't rule out a part-time schedule with a strong team, but he's not actively pursuing such an opportunity.

 Dale Earnhardt Inc. President Max Siegel said he doesn't know what to say to fans about not being able to work out a deal with Hendrick Motorsports to let Dale Earnhardt Jr. take the No. 8 with him for 2008.

"Hopefully five years from now, people will be saying nice things about DEI," Siegel said. "I am not interested in getting into any personal discussions about Dale vs. Teresa. Dale Jr. knows exactly how I feel about the situation and about him.

"The reality is when you have any set of negotiations, the best you can do is have open dialogue. I have been open and very transparent with him. ... It was a very complicated situation. ... The emotional charge of this whole situation tells you how complex the discussions are."

Siegel reiterated DEI will field a team using the No. 8 next year.

"If we didn't have plans to run the 8 we wouldn't have gone through this whole exercise," he said.

He said the team is a week or two from announcing its full driver lineup for 2008, which will include four sponsored teams.



 Noon, ESPN2

 Forecast: 80 percent chance of rain at noon and 100 percent at 3 p.m.

Pos. No. Driver Car Speed
1. 24 Jeff Gordon Chevy 189.026
2. 16 Greg Biffle Ford 188.684
3. 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge 188.516
4. 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge 188.132
5. 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge 188.024
6. 5 Kyle Busch Chevy 187.882
7. 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 187.877
8. 11 Denny Hamlin Chevy 187.373
9. 07 Clint Bowyer Chevy 187.344
10. 01 Mark Martin Chevy 187.246
11. 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota 187.042
12. 00 D.Reutimann Toyota 186.848
13. 99 Carl Edwards Ford 186.780
14. 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevy 186.746
15. 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 186.577
16. 49 John Andretti Dodge 186.446
17. 22 Dave Blaney Toyota 186.393
18. 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 186.239
19. 31 Jeff Burton Chevy 186.225
20. 40 David Stremme Dodge 186.215
21. 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 186.181
22. 88 Ricky Rudd Ford 186.167
23. 21 Bill Elliott Ford 186.123
24. 38 David Gilliland Ford 185.946
25. 6 David Ragan Ford 185.888
26. 42 J.P. Montoya Dodge 185.806
27. 4 Ward Burton Chevy 185.591
28. 29 Kevin Harvick Chevy 185.428
29. 25 Casey Mears Chevy 185.428
30. 7 Robby Gordon Ford 185.366
31. 18 J.J. Yeley Chevy 185.338
32. 08 Joe Nemechek Dodge 185.319
33. 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge 185.061
34. 12 Ryan Newman Dodge 184.947
35. 20 Tony Stewart Chevy 184.800
36. 26 Jamie McMurray Ford 184.791
37. 96 Tony Raines Chevy 184.611
38. 15 Paul Menard Chevy 184.450
39. 8 D.Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 184.422
40. 66 Jeff Green Chevy 184.327
41. 70 Johnny Sauter Chevy own pts
42. 45 C.McCumbee Dodge own pts
43. 10 Scott Riggs Dodge 184.672

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