NASCAR cancels Friday activities at Darlington, and qualifying as Hermine looms

Hurricane Hermine as of 5:00 p.m. ET Thursday. (NHC)

Hurricane Hermine as of 5:00 p.m. ET Thursday. (NHC)

Hurricane Hermine will keep the garages closed at Darlington Raceway Friday.  NASCAR cancelled all on-track activity at Darlington Thursday as forecasts showed the minimal hurricane would be making a path through South Carolina Friday.

The good news is that storm is expected to move through quickly and for the rest of the weekend, track officials are calling for “Chamber of Commerce” weather.  There were two Sprint Cup practices and a practice session for the Xfinity Series scheduled for Friday.  Qualifying for the Sprint Cup series was scheduled for Saturday.

The new schedule released late Thursday shows one Xfinity practice and two Sprint Cup practices for Saturday.  Qualifying sessions for both series have been cancelled.  The Xfinity race is still scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

According to the NASCAR rule book the Sprint Cup field will be set by owner points.  Kevin Harvick will start from the pole, Brad Keselowski will start second followed by Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano.  There are 40 entries so everyone who entered will race Sunday night.

Hermine is not the first hurricane to affect NASCAR.  In September of 2003, Hurricane Isabel cancelled Friday activities at Dover International Speedway.  Last year Hurricane Joaquin threatened the Sprint Cup race at Dover again.  The storm missed the area and the race was held as scheduled.

Hermine became first a tropical storm then a minimal Hurricane Thursday.  Forecasters are calling for landfall in the Florida Panhandle late Thursday into early Friday morning.

The Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, with TV coverage on NBC.

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