Rain forces postponement of Sprint Cup race at Kentucky

SPARTA, KY - JUNE 29:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Sealy Chevrolet, walks to the grid after driver introductions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 29, 2013 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

SPARTA, KY – JUNE 29: Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Sealy Chevrolet, walks to the grid after driver introductions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 29, 2013 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

SPARTA, Ky. — Persistent rain forced postponement of Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway, turning a scheduled night race into a day race.

The 17th Cup event of the season has been rescheduled for noon ET Sunday, with record-setting pole winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. leading the field to green. TNT will carry the race live.

The Cup garage will open at 9 a.m. Parking lots will open at 8 a.m. with gates open to the public at 10 a.m. This is the first race postponement of the 2013 Cup season.

Sunday’s race will be the third Cup event held at the 1.5-mile intermediate track. Kyle Busch won the inaugural running of the race in 2011, and Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag last year en route to the series championship.

The Quaker State 400 marks the start of the 10-event Race to the Chase, the defining stretch for drivers trying to gain or hold positions in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the 10-race playoff that will determine the Cup champion.

The top 10 drivers in the standings earn berths in the Chase, along with the two drivers in positions 11-20 with the most victories. Position in the standings is the tiebreaker among drivers with the same number of wins.

Earnhardt, who qualified at a track-record 183.636 mph, hasn’t won since June of last year at Michigan, but he’s currently tied with Greg Biffle for sixth in the Cup standings. Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson leads the series by 25 points over second-place Carl Edwards.

Edwards and Johnson qualified second and third, respectively for the Quaker State 400.

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