Rain postpones Xfinity Series’ return at Darlington Raceway

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - MAY 19: Cras sit covered in the garage area prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Toyota 200 at Darlington Raceway on May 19, 2020 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR has postponed Tuesday night’s scheduled Toyota 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway until Thursday at noon ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) because of persistent rain showers in the region.

A second NASCAR Cup Series race at the historic 1.366-mile track – the Toyota 500 –  is still scheduled for Wednesday evening (6 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson, who won the season-opening Xfinity Series race at Daytona, will start on pole position in Thursday afternoon’s race alongside teammate Michael Annett – the race’s starting lineup conducted in a draw.

Xfinity Series championship leader Harrison Burton will start 12th alongside Stewart-Haas Racing driver Chase Briscoe, who trails Burton by three points in the championship. This will be the Xfinity Series Darlington track debut for the 20-year old Burton.

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, who is scheduled to compete in all seven of the first NASCAR races back (at Darlington and Charlotte), will start 26th. He is the only former winner in the field.

All the cars had passed inspection with no issues before Tuesday’s rain postponement was announced. Kody Vanderwal in the No. 52 Means Motorsports Chevrolet (originally starting 21st) and Joe Graf Jr. in the No. 08 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet (originally starting 36th) will both start from the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments.

As with the two NASCAR Cup Series races being held at Darlington this week, there were no practice sessions and qualifying order was set in a draw based on team positions in the  championship standings. No fans will be in attendance at track and the teams and essential NASCAR personnel are maintaining strict social distancing.

The Darlington trio of races – Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race won by Kevin Harvick, Wednesday’s scheduled race and then Thursday’s rain-delayed Xfinity Series event- mark the return of major NASCAR competition in an adjusted schedule. Teams move to the NASCAR Charlotte hub later in the week, with four races slated for Charlotte Motor Speedway, including a pair of NASCAR Cup Series races (Sunday and Wednesday) and an Xfinity (Monday) and Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series race (Tuesday).

Greg Engle