Texas Motor Speedway

NASCAR plans to send drivers to cars at 6 p.m. for AAA Texas 500


Race officials are hopeful to send drivers to their cars at 6 p.m. and begin the AAA Texas 500 shortly after that, a Texas Motor Speedway spokesman announced.

Several Air Titans and jet dryers have been on the track trying to get it into racing conditions after rain fell minutes before the scheduled 1 p.m. start. The race will be televised on NBC Sports Network. It had been set to air on NBC.

A NASCAR race is official when more than half of it is run. The Texas race is the middle race in the Round of 8 of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, the sport’s version of its playoffs.

If the race has to be postponed until Monday or a later date because of the weather, Texas offers a favorable exchange policy should fans not be able to make it. Fans can exchange their ticket for a future race at Texas within one-year from the date of the scheduled race for equal or lesser value.

But this serves as the latest weather headache for TMS. Track president Eddie Gossage has acknowledged that the track must be repaved sooner than later, although they are trying to hold off on it as long as possible because drivers prefer older racing surfaces. The racing surface was fully repaved 15 years ago.

The top layer of the asphalt has become so porous that water stays in crevices and holes, which makes it more difficult to drain and dry. Therefore, fans are subject to long rain delays that have become the norm in recent years.

A truck practice session scheduled for Thursday afternoon had to be pushed back to Friday because the track was too damp.

The IndyCar race in June was pushed back a day after an afternoon rain storm. But rains came during the action the following day, and the race was postponed until August.

In April, the Sprint Cup race ended after midnight following a two-hour rain delay.

Last fall, two Cup practice sessions were canceled the day before the race because of overnight rain.

And the Sprint Cup race in April 2014 was postponed a day because of rain.

“There is nothing you can do about Mother Nature. It’s very frustrating,” Gossage told the Star-Telegram earlier this week. “Nobody is more dejected than I am when we have bad weather, so we just had a tough run but that’s how it goes.

“Never say, ‘Woe is me.’ Just deal with it. We’re due some really good weather.”