Rain forces cancellation of Sprint Cup, Xfinity qualifying at Kentucky Speedway

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SPARTA, Ky. – A third consecutive day of rain at Kentucky Speedway forced the cancellation of Sprint Cup and Xfinity qualifying sessions Friday.

After being washed out Wednesday and Thursday, Sprint Cup cars hit the track for 49 minutes of practice before a storm cut short the session, which had been slated for three and a half hours.

The skies cleared and track drying began a couple of hours later, and it seemed qualifying for Xfinity (3:45) and Sprint Cup (5:45) might occur as scheduled.

But at shortly before 2 p.m., NASCAR announced it would cancel both sessions and add a final Sprint Cup practice that would run for 90 minutes or until 6:25 p.m.

NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the adjustment was for “safety and in the best interest of putting on the best possible event we can here at Kentucky Speedway.”

A lower-downforce rules package will make its debut in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky, and Sprint Cup teams didn’t have the opportunity to test it on track until Friday.

The field for the Sprint Cup race was set by the rulebook, meaning Ryan Blaney, Michael McDowell and Travis Kvapil didn’t qualify because they had made fewer qualifying attempts this season than the other teams in the field.

It was the second consecutive race that a weather-related cancellation of qualifying knocked out McDowell and Blaney, whose Wood Brothers Racing team expressed its disappointment on Twitter.