By JENNA FRYER
AP Auto Racing Writer
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — NASCAR’s postponed playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway was halted by rain a second time Monday with Bubba Wallace leading.
The race already had passed the halfway point by the second stoppage, which means the results could be official if NASCAR can’t resume the event.
The first red-flag stoppage lasted for just over 18 minutes early in the second stage. The second stoppage came with three laps remaining in the stage and Wallace, in his Toyota for 23XI Racing, led the field down pit road for the cars to be parked.
Wallace climbed from his car and motioned to the sky for rain to fall. If the 2.66-mile superspeedway is soaked, it could take at least two hours to dry the track and push NASCAR up against sundown. The track does not have lights.
Wallace said he did not want to discuss what would happen if the race was called.
“I’m a big believer, like when you get a tire vibration or you feel something go wrong, I’m a big believer in, don’t talk about it, it won’t happen,” he said during the delay. “I want it to rain. I want that to happen. As far as it being official, I don’t want to talk about it. Lot of laps left.”
The race originally was scheduled for Sunday but was postponed a day because of rain.
NASCAR was up against both rain and daylight at Talladega. NASCAR on Saturday called the Xfinity Series race six laps from completion because of darkness and it does not want the same outcome for its premier Cup Series. Talladega marks the middle race of the second round of the playoffs, with only pole sitter Denny Hamlin locked into the next round.
The Cup Series races this coming Sunday on The Roval, a hybrid road course/oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the playoff field will be trimmed from 12 drivers to eight after that elimination event. Even with rain forecast intermittently in Alabama over the next few days, it is unlikely that NASCAR won’t make every attempt to complete the Cup race at Talladega before moving on to North Carolina.
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.