FORT WORTH — The NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas was pushed back yet another day without drivers completing any more laps Monday.
Eight hours after the race was scheduled to resume on a misty day with temperatures in the low 40s Fahrenheit (single digits Celsius), NASCAR postponed it and decided to try again Tuesday (11 a.m., TV: NBCSN).
Similar weather conditions were in the forecast for Tuesday and into Wednesday.
Only 52 of the scheduled 334 laps were completed Sunday before mist and drizzle forced the race to stop. There was a delay of more than four hours then before the race was postponed a day.
Another 115 laps have to be completed to get to the halfway mark of 167 laps that would make Texas an official race.
There are still three spots up for grabs for the four-driver championship race in the season finale at Phoenix. The only other race between Texas and Phoenix is Sunday at Martinsville, the shortest and oldest Cup track.
Joey Logano opened the final three-race playoff round with a win at Kansas, where he held off Kevin Harvick for the final 40-plus laps to get a victory that took him from outside the top four to a guaranteed championship chance in the Nov. 8 finale.
Harvick, who has won the last three fall races at Texas and is a nine-time winner this season, brushed the wall while leading on Lap 29. With damage to his car’s right side, he was 36th and one lap down when the race stopped Sunday.
The only laps completed Monday on the 1 1/2-mile track were by the Air Titan and jet dryer trucks. The race cars remained parked in the garage, never rolling to pit road.
There were several periods Monday when the track appeared to be drying, before more misty conditions would further soak the track. There was never a hard rain, but cool temperatures and the lack of any sunshine made it impossible to completely dry the asphalt.
Two drivers retiring from full-time NASCAR competition after this season, Clint Bowyer and seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, stayed first and second for another night.
The cars kept running for eight laps after the weather caution first came out Sunday, with jet dryers circling the track at the same time. The cars then sat uncovered on pit road for about half an hour before the tarps came out, and the drivers and crews headed for cover.
Erik Jones was running third, ahead of Logano.
Martin Truex Jr. will resume the race in fifth place, having already recovered from being forced to start at the back of the field because of an illegal spoiler. He was just ahead of fellow playoff contender Chase Elliott.
Newgarden wins IndyCar finale but can’t deny Dixon 6th title
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Josef Newgarden’s best and probably only chance to keep his IndyCar crown was to win Sunday’s season finale.
Anything short of a victory on on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg left Newgarden with almost no path to deny Scott Dixon another championship.
Newgarden used a spectacular two-car pass for the lead to indeed win Sunday but it wasn’t enough as Dixon stealthily finished third to collect yet another ring in his storied career. The 40-year-old New Zelander won his sixth title for Chip Ganassi Racing in tactician performance of following Newgarden all day.
“Six is good. Seven sounds better, that’s the goal,” Dixon said.
Dixon has won two of the last three titles, a run interrupted last year when Newgarden won his second title. The Tennessean tied Dixon with his series-best fourth win of the season but was in too large of a hole after Dixon opened the abbreviated and pandemic disrupted schedule with three consecutive victories.
Newgarden went to victory lane to congratulate his rival.
“We weren’t good enough,” Newgarden said. “We’ll reset, we’ll hit them harder next year and I promise you, we will be in the fight.”
The season that was supposed to begin seven months ago on these same streets before it was abruptly canceled 48 hours before the green flag at last came to a close in front of a sold-out 20,000 spectators. It was the largest crowd of the season for IndyCar, which lost races in seven cities, had just one street course event with Sunday’s finale, and still managed to complete a 14-race year.
IndyCar became the first major motorsports series to make it to the checkered flag, relatively unscathed, and as stable as anyone can be during the pandemic largely due to first-year owner Roger Penske. He brought his awful inaugural season full circle with Sunday’s finale, which turned out to be a dramatic error-prone ender in which three Andretti Autosport drivers ruined race-winning runs and Newgarden went down swinging.
The race was an Alexander Rossi runaway for the first 37 laps and then pole-sitter Will Power crashed for the first caution. Power, who was in a tight race for third in the final standings, threw his gloves in anger and admitted to driver error.
“I just lost it. Had a moment,” he said. “I was definitely frustrated there, making a mistake and hitting the wall. It’s my bad. It put us out of the race and that’s a bad situation.
The Power crash triggered a span of three cautions over the next 10 laps, the third on a restart on lap 47 when brand new teammate Scott McLaughlin spun in his IndyCar debut. The New Zealander won his third consecutive Australian Supercars championship one week ago then journeyed to the United States to launch a new career at Team Penske.
McLaughlin’s wreck also collected Rinus VeeKay, who still clinched rookie of the year on the day he was renewed for a second season with Ed Carpenter Racing.
McLaughlin finished 22nd, just two spots ahead of Power in last, but was thrilled with his 47-lap experience.
Lewis Hamilton wins Portuguese GP for record 92nd F1 victory
PORTIMAO, Portugal (AP) — British driver Lewis Hamilton made Formula One history on Sunday, winning the Portuguese Grand Prix for a 92nd career victory to move one ahead of German great Michael Schumacher.
Hamilton finished nearly 25.6 seconds ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and 34.5 clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for his eighth win of another dominant season. He also took an extra point for the fastest lap to extend his huge championship lead to 77 points over Bottas with just five races left.
Hamilton won his first F1 race in 2007 and first title the following year. But his career really took off when he replaced the retired Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013. Hamilton has added five F1 titles and the runaway championship leader is now odds-on to equal Schumacher’s record of seven.
Hamilton took a record-extending 97th career pole position, starting ahead of Bottas and Verstappen on a track being used for the first time in F1.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. briefly held the race lead and then Bottas led until Hamilton passed him on Lap 20.
After that he coasted to the finish line and into the record books.