No Excitement Only Rain

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RICHMOND, Va. – The NASCAR Winston Cup Pontiac Excitement 400 finally got started after a two-hour rain delay Saturday. But another rain shower after 66 laps forced NASCAR to postpone the finish of the race until Sunday morning.

Dale Jarrett will lead the field to the green flag when the race retarts at noon ET - with the standings set from where drivers were upon completion of Lap 66. FX will broadcast the event.

Pole winner Ward Burton led the first 62 laps, but after pit stops under caution for the rain, Jarrett stayed on the track and got the lead. Michael Waltrip was second when the rains hit, with Bobby Hamilton third, Frank Kimmel fourth and Rusty Wallace fifth.

Burton dropped to seventh after making a four-tire stop. The rest of the Top 10 was: Jeff Green, Burton, Matt Kenseth, Jimmy Spencer and points leader Sterling Marlin.

The red flag was thrown at 9:43 p.m., and about 15 minutes later, the track’s jet dryers were back out to try to make the surface raceable again. But the rain picked up, and at 10:35 p.m., NASCAR called it.

Intermittent rain began shortly after 1 p.m. ET, and by race time at 7 p.m., it had become steady. Jet dryers were on the track for a short period of time around 6 p.m. ET, but they were taken off the track as the rain became heavier.

The jet dyers were back on the track at 8 p.m., and the race got under way shortly after 9 p.m.

Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte both were forced to drop to the back of the field because of engine changes in their Pontiacs. Labonte was in 16th when the rains came, while Stewart, who had moved up higher but dropped back on his pit stop, was 27th. Joe Nemechek, subbing for the injured Johnny Benson in the No. 10 Pontiac, was 25th after dropping to the rear of the fieldf, too.

Burton was unchallenged the first 62 laps, pulling to a large lead ahead of outside front-row starter Dale Earnhardt Jr. and later Green.

“We’ll get back up front,” Burton said. “We’ve got to wait and see how the track changes, but I was just riding. After 10 laps, I was just riding. I know track position is important, but I haven’t been around a lot of cars. I think we’ll be in good shape.

“This might be the best car I’ve ever had here, but I’ll have to wait and tell you that tomorrow for sure.”

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