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Rain brings out red flag at Watkins Glen

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1 Rain brings out red flag at Watkins Glen on Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:30 pm


WATKINS GLEN -- Mother Nature has certainly made her presence known in recent years at Watkins Glen International.

For the second time in three years, the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the road course at the southern tip of Seneca Lake was postponed from its traditional Sunday date due to rain.

The Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen will be held today at 10 a.m. (ESPN).

"You work with NASCAR to put it all together and you’ve got to make the decision unfortunately," said Watkins Glen track president Michael Printup, who is a native of Hamburg. "You don’t want to put on half a race, or a third of the race, you want to put on the race."

The race was scheduled to start at 1 p.m., but grey skies, drizzle during driver introductions and an ominously green radar screen prompted the race to be delayed. After 2 1/2 hours there was a break in the showers, and track-drying blower trucks made their way around the 11-turn, 2.45-mile course. However, the rain started again and the decision to postpone the race a day came at 4:26 p.m.

"We couldn’t get the track dry enough with that second little burst of rain," Printup said. "That set us right back to our two-hour time limit to get the track dry. We tried. Fans come first, and we lost [Sunday] against the weather gods."

In 2009, a similar long delay preceded the postponement of the race to Monday, marking the first time the race had been postponed since NASCAR’s return to the Glen in 1986.

NASCAR Nationwide Series cars have been equipped with rain tires and windshield wipers in recent years, using them in Montreal’s road course last year, but the much heavier Cup cars have never been outfitted to race in the rain.

As of Sunday evening, weather forecasts for Watkins Glen called for showers early today, thunderstorms later and an overall chance of rain at 60 percent.

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