DOVER, Del. – Rain forced postponement of Saturday’s Drive Sober 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Dover International Speedway and put several Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers on the horns of a dilemma.
NASCAR will run a doubleheader on Sunday, with the XFINITY Series event rescheduled for 10 a.m. (on CNBC), with the Citizen Soldier 400 Sprint Cup race, scheduled for 2 p.m. (NBCSN), to follow. Fans with tickets to either race will be admitted for both. Tickets are available at NASCAR.com/tickets.
Chase drivers Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Austin Dillon all were entered in both races and faced the prospect of 600 high-speed laps at the Monster Mile.
Logano, for one, wanted to compete in both races.
“You have no idea how bad I want to,” the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford said on pit road after the postponement. “We just have to think about the big picture, too. We have a very fast XFINITY car here, and I really want to race it because I think I’ve got a shot to finally beat these guys (referring to the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas). …
“Our priority is to win the Sprint Cup championship and this is an important race. If this was the spring race, you might have different thoughts, but right now there is a lot to think about, and I’m sure we’ll make the best decision we know how to.”
The decision was swift in coming. Within minutes, Team Penske announced that Ryan Blaney, a Sprint Cup rookie who is not in the Chase, would take over for Logano in the Drive Sober 200.
Busch, the career victory leader in the XFINITY Series with 84 wins, expressed reluctance at the prospect of exiting the No. 18 JGR Toyota for the first event of the day.
“Anything can happen here,” Busch said. “As Joey said, you don’t want to get 300 miles into the Cup race tomorrow and feel like, ‘My arms are going to fall off.’ There’s bigger priorities on that side (Sprint Cup), for sure, so we’ll just see where we land.”
As of 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, no decision had been reached as to Busch’s status for Sunday’s XFINITY race.
Dillon is in an especially precarious position, tied for 13th in the Chase standings and five points behind Kyle Larson in 12th. The Chase field will be cut from 16 to 12 drivers after Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.
Regan Smith will replace Dillon in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet for Sunday morning’s XFINITY race.
With polesitter Erik Jones leading the field, XFINITY drivers were running pace laps on Saturday afternoon when rain intensified and forced the postponement.
The last time NASCAR held an XFINITY-Sprint Cup doubleheader was April 25, 2010 at Talladega Superspeedway.